New Year's is a time for celebration and reflection, and for many, it is also a time to make resolutions and spend time with loved ones. People worldwide mark the New Year's celebration by participating in festive activities with the hopes of a brighter and happier year to come.
Russia - Celebrating The "New" and "Old" New Year
In Russia, two New Year’s holidays are celebrated. Russians refer to the "New" New Year as the holiday celebrated on the traditional dates from December 31st to January 1st. The holiday is celebrated by enjoying activities such as concert performances and firework displays, with families enjoying a late dinner before ringing in the New Year. The "Old" New Year is celebrated on January 14th as per the Julian, or Orthodox calendar, and is the quieter of the two celebrations. This holiday is enjoyed by spending time with family and enjoying traditional foods around the dinner table, such as an Olivier salad, herring, and wine. Russians also celebrate this time of the year by decorating a New Year's tree or Novogodnaya Yolka.
South Africa - The Cape Town Minstrel Carnival
Cape Town is known for its Tweede Nuwe Jaar, or Second New Year, carnival celebration that traditionally takes place on January 2nd. The historically significant and culturally rich festivities include musicians, performers, and people from all walks of life who celebrate the beginning of the New Year. The carnival-goers will dress in bright, colorful attire while playing jazz instruments and dancing to a mix of traditional and modern songs. The people of Cape Town, South Africa, are known for their hospitality and energetic spirit, welcoming visitors from across the globe to partake in the New Year's celebration.
China - The Lunar New Year
In China, the New Year celebrations, also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, take place on February 1st as per the Chinese calendar. The festival includes an elaborate display of fireworks and red, colorful decorations featuring the world-famous dragon dances. New Year's is an important holiday for the Chinese people, with generations of families coming together to enjoy culturally significant celebrations. These practices are performed in the hopes of ushering in prosperity and good luck for the new year while observing time-honored family traditions.
Brazil - Brazilian Reveillon
In Brazil, millions of people gather in Rio de Janeiro to ring in the New Year, commonly referred to as Reveillon, or Ano Novo. New Year's is Brazil's second-biggest celebration, ranking behind Rio’s Carnival, with the holiday motto being "Ano Novo, Vida Nova," meaning "New year, new life." New Year's also coincides with the Brazilian religious holiday Festa de Iemanjá, the festival of the Goddess of the Sea, which is a celebration of the sea goddess, Yemanja. For this reason, it is believed that celebrating New Year's on the beach will bring good fortune. People also take this opportunity to give their offerings to the sea goddess by placing gifts in small boats, which are then pushed out to sea in return for protection and prosperity during the new year.
All around the world, people and families gather together with the collective hope of ringing in a new year full of prosperity, good fortune, and happiness. Although these traditions are all culturally unique, one common thread seems to connect us regardless of where we call home. New Year’s is celebrated by spending time with loved ones while reflecting on the past and remaining hopeful for the future.
Written by Laura LeFrenier
This article has been republished from Renewed Awareness Magazine.