The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

Global Celebrations

There Are A Variety of New Year’s Celebrations Worldwide
Arnav%2C+CC+BY-SA+4.0+%2C+via+Wikimedia+Commons
Arnav, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Not everyone uses the same calendar as the Western world, in fact over 3 billion people celebrate New Year at different times because they follow a different calendar. Diwali, Nowruz, and Chinese New Year are just some of the other major New Year celebrations. Each one has unique traditions and has often been observed way longer than the West’s New Year. 

Diwali 

Diwali is a traditional Indian celebration in the Hindu month of Kartik which generally falls in October and November. It has religious origins in Hinduism, however, it has evolved into more of a cultural celebration with many Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists celebrating. It is mostly celebrated in India, Nepal, Malaysia, Fiji, and other countries with a large South Asian population. Around 1 billion people celebrate it worldwide. 

Diwali is a celebration that lasts five days long. All five days people celebrate with parades and get-togethers but each day has something specific to it. The first day is called Dhanteras, and people buy gold and silver household items. Naraka Chaturdashi is the second day and people make rangolis outside their homes to bring in good luck and prosperity. They also light diyas or special oil lamps to mark the beginning of a new year and to bring prosperity. During Lakshmi Puja, the third day, people gather with friends and family to eat and exchange gifts. The relationship between a married couple is celebrated on Govardhan Puja and gifts are generally given. On the last day, Bhai Dooj celebrates the bond between siblings. Traditionally, brothers will give gifts to their sisters, and sisters will give their brothers a tilak, which is a red paste on the forehead. 

Nowruz

Nowruz is a Persian New Year celebration rooted in Zoroastrianism, an old religion native to the region. Currently, it is celebrated in the Middle East, Central Asia, the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, and other regions with a larger Middle Eastern population. Nowruz has been celebrated for 3000 years and is currently celebrated by over 300 million people. It marks the beginning of spring on the Iranian Solar Hijri calendar.

Nowruz is celebrated for thirteen days but preparation starts before that. Traditionally, people will start cleaning their homes for the new year. People also have symbiotic dances that often involve fire to burn out the bad luck from last year. Families will gather, eat, and exchange gifts

However, the most important part of Nowruz is the Half seen table. A Half-Seen table is a table with seven items with a deeper meaning that starts with s. Some common items are apples for good health, coins for wealth, wheat for rebirth, painted eggs for fertility, a goldfish for new life, and candles for happiness. Now none of these words start with ‘S’ but that is because these words often start with ‘S’  in the languages this practice originated but have since changed. 

Chinese New Year 

This year Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year will fall on February 10th on a new moon and marks the beginning of the year of the dragon. Nearly 2 billion people celebrate it worldwide, and it has been celebrated for thousands of years. The Chinese New Year is a major holiday in China, with most people getting 7 days off of work and millions of people traveling home to celebrate with family. 

The Chinese New Year focuses on removing bad luck from last year and bringing in good luck for next year. Because of that, there are many traditions that people follow. In the lead-up to the New Year’s people clean, fix, and decorate their homes with red lanterns and the Chinese character for luck (福). On New Year’s Eve, families gather and have Nián yèfàn or a New Year’s Eve dinner. The children in the family will often get pocket money in red envelopes called Yāsuìqián. 

Another major part of Chinese New Year are lion dances. Lion dances are a traditional Chinese dance where two people wear a lion costume and mimic its movement to tell a story. One person controls the head and the other person controls the back. They are thought to bring good luck to whoever is watching. If you have not seen a lion dance, I strongly suggest googling it as it is very impressive. The National Maritime Museum has a very good one here. 

So let’s celebrate the coming of the new year, no matter what time of the year it may be, and embrace the richness of our cultural differences.

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About the Contributor
Abria Joshua, Staff Writer & Senior Copy Editor
Hi, My name is Abria Joshua! I’m currently a sophomore at Gateway and it is my first year here. I am in the book club, mock trial, stage crew, and the senior copy editor for The Chomp! Outside of school, this is my third year doing team policy debate through NCFCA. I want to go into something science or politics related to hopefully work in conservation. I love all things reading, art, and animals!
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