26 Completely Different New Year’s Days Around the World

Print Email

While the new year has already commenced for those following the Gregorian calendar, the most widely used calendar in the world, the Chinese New Year, has yet to begin. Friday Feb. 16, 2018 marks the first day of the Year of the Dog, one of 12 Chinese zodiac signs that rotate every year.

People all around the globe ring in the new year, but not all celebrate the same way Americans do, or even on the same day. Though people have different traditions and customs, most feel grateful for the year that passed and optimistic about the one that’s about to begin. Several New Year’s celebrations stretch across several days, like the Burmese and Thai New Year. The Chinese New Year is the longest, lasting 15 days.

To identify the different civil and religious calendars and the date when the new year begins, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a range of internet sources. We also heavily researched the various customs and traditions each culture practices. New Year’s dates are given by their corresponding dates on the Gregorian calendar. We excluded ancient calendars from this list.

Click here to see every New Year’s date from every calendar.

Many calendars have religious foundations. Some calendars are based on the lunar cycle, some on the solar cycle. The Chinese calendar is lunisolar. Because of the different cycles, the different New Year’s — in relation to the Gregorian calendar — either fall on the same day every year, or occur over a range of days. For example, the Ethiopian New Year falls on Sept. 11 every year, whereas the Chinese New Year can take place anytime between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20.

Of course, the beginning of a new year cannot come and go without some sort of celebration. In some cultures, there are rituals that honor the year that lapsed and customs that welcome the coming year, specifically auspicious prayers in hopes of receiving a bestowal of blessings. The celebrations differ from culture to culture.

The Balinese welcome the new year by spending the entire day in absolute silence. That’s much different from the Burmese, who celebrate the new year with a three-to-four-day-long water festival. The Thais have a custom of pouring water on the elders of society in order to receive blessings for the new year.