Written by Carmen Law, Director, Belonging, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
There are a variety of ways of welcoming the new year. Many may reflect on the past year, and some may look forward to what is to come. January 1st is known to many of us as the start of a new year, where we flip the page to a new calendar. The calendar we have adopted and is widely used around the world is called the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar was a modification and change from the Julian calendar. The Gregorian calendar is based on the earth’s rotation around the sun of 365.2425 days, which is also known as the solar calendar. The Gregorian calendar is also used by many countries as their civil calendar despite having their own cultural or religious calendars.
Various cultures and countries still use the lunar calendar or lunisolar calendar to determine national holidays or religious celebrations. The lunar calendar is based on the monthly cycle of the moon’s phases. The lunisolar calendar combines the lunar and solar calendar.
No matter the type of calendar used to ring in the new year, what many traditions have in common is looking forward to what is ahead, celebrating with people, food and activities, and wishing others well.
Here are a few examples of new year’s celebrated on various dates in the Gregorian calendar:
- Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)
- Raʼs as-Sanah al-Hijrīyah (Islamic New Year)
- Chinese New Year
- Seollal (Korean New Year)
- Vietnamese New Year
- Tsagaan Sar (Mongolian New Year)
- Puthandu (Tamil New Year)
- Ugaadhi (Telegu and Kannada New Year)
- Nowruz (Iranian New Year)
- Nyepi (Balinese New Year)
- Aluth Avurudda (Sinhalese New Year)
Take some time to explore various new year’s traditions from across cultures, countries and religions. All the different traditions have meaning, and stories associated with them. Learning to appreciate a wide variety of practices can open our lens to what we often think about January 1st being the first day of the year.