Statista - New Year

So many cultures, so many New Years

This Friday, 2021 will [finally] begin and during the night between the 31st December and 1st January many countries – the ones following the Gregorian calendar, which is based on one revolution of the Earth around the sun – will celebrate the New Year… but not everywhere will be the same: every year we have at least 6 other New Years, according to different cultures and calendars.

Statista - New Year

I have to admit: I didn’t know. I had just a vague perception that there were other ways to “count days” and different methods to “structure the year”, but I didn’t imagine there could be so many diverse conceptions about how we perceive “one year”. From Statista’s infographic I learned we should consider at least 7 New Years each year:

  • 1st of January is the Gregorian New Year, the one that in most of the western countries is celebrated with countdown before midnight and fireworks
  • In January or February [in 2021 it will be on the 12th of February] the Lunar New Year celebrated in China, South Korea and Laos will start
  • March [in 2021 it will be on the 20th] is the turn to celebrate in Iran, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan where the Persian New Year Nowruz is the main new year’s celebration while it is “Spring Festival” for the majority of the central Asian countries
  • Sometime in March or April [the 12th of April in 2021] India celebrates the Hindu New Year, but the exact date may vary depending on the region and the 1st January celebration is also popular
  • In April also the Songkran occurs [from 13th to 15th April in 2021], so the New Year in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos that coexists peacefully with the Gregorian one
  • In 2021 August the 10th will be time for the Islamic New Year and the celebration in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. Usually their year is shorter than the Gregorian one because it is based on astronomical calculations of moon cycles, so it can occur in almost any Gregorian calendar month… and “while many countries in the region follow the Saudis’ lead, others wait until they can spot the new moon themselves, causing slightly different observation dates for the holiday”. 2020 was the first time Saudi Arabia didn’t condemn the 1st January celebration and allowed fireworks on the date.
  • then in September [from the 6th to the 8th in 2021] Israel will celebrate its New Year, the Rosh Hashanah

Considering that this year I don’t think the Gregorian New Year will see lots of celebration, it’s somewhat reassuring for those who will have their new year later – maybe in March or at least in summer – and could expect a different, more relaxed atmosphere for their “new beginning”, don’t you think?

Anyway, I’m happier now: I know something more about other cultures and ways of life, and knowledge is respect and makes integration and empathy easier. Have a great New Year, whenever it happens! 🙂

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