Special Report

26 Completely Different New Year’s Days Around the World

Source: Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

21. Vietnamese New Year
> Country where calendar is observed: Vietnam
> Name of new year: Tết
> Date of new year: January or February

Tết is considered to be the most important holiday on the Vietnamese calendar. At the stroke of midnight, as the new year begins, Vietnamese welcome the new kitchen god by beating drums and igniting firecrackers. Each day during the new year week, family members place offerings on the household altar and burn incense to remember the deceased ancestors.

Source: Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

22. Burmese New Year
> Country where calendar is observed: Myanmar (formerly Burma)
> Name of new year: Thingyan
> Date of new year: Mid-April

Thingyan, the Burmese New Year, is also an extravagant water festival. The Burmese ring in the new year by participating in several water-filled activities, including spraying one another with water guns, tossing water from buckets, and pouring water from intricate silver vessels. This water frenzy lasts for three to four days, ending just in time for dinner and a night’s worth of partying at promptly 6:30 p.m.

Source: Taylor Weidman / Getty Images

23. Mongolian New Year
> Country where calendar is observed: Mongolia
> Name of new year: Tsagaan Sar
> Date of new year: Feb. 16

Tsagaan Sar is a Mongolian New Year celebration that lasts 15 days. Over this time, people gather to renew family ties, repay debts, and resolve disputes. People dress in traditional clothes, tell stories, eat traditional dishes, play games, and practice Mongolian customs.

Source: Kalyan Kanuri / Wikimedia Commons

24. Telugu and Kannada New Year
> Country where calendar is observed: Southern India
> Name of new year: Ugadi
> Date of new year: Late March – early April

People living in the the southern Indian states of Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh celebrate Ugadi, which takes place on the first new moon after the Spring Equinox. Based on the Gregorian calendar, this day falls anywhere between the end of March and the beginning of April. Preparations for the celebration commence a week prior and include scrubbing down the house and purchasing new clothing. On the day of Ugadi, people adorn their homes with mango leaves and colorful designs made of rice, flower, sand or flower petals called Rangoli.

Source: Don MacKinnon / Getty Images

25. Pakistanian New Year
> Country where calendar is observed: Pakistan
> Name of new year: Vaisakhi
> Date of new year: April 14

Pakistanis celebrate Vaisakhi on April 14 to mark the start of spring. The day celebrates the harvest in the Punjab region of India and it is also acknowledged as when Sikhism was founded in 1699. The day is observed with processions known as a nagar kirtan and religious hymns recited from the Sikh holy book.

Source: Jerry Emeka Obi / Wikimedia Commons

26. Igbo New Year
> Country where calendar is observed: Nigeria
> Name of new year: Igbo New Year
> Date of new year: Third week of February

The Igbo new year begins in February, just like the new year starts for Asian cultures such as Chinese, Korean and Indian. These cultures use the moon to calculate their months and seasons. During a festival that marks the new year, the reigning monarch of the Igbo people in Nigeria distributes yam seeds to his people and asks them to return home and farm their land.

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