What do you see out of your window today?

Interesting Facts About The New Year

Jan 03 2022

Interesting Facts About The New Year

Kissing under the mistletoe, making promises, coming up with New Year resolutions - These customs are very popular today. 

But do you know that they were also practiced in Babylon and among the Romans many years ago?  Interesting, isn’t it?

Well, there are so many other facts about the New Year that you might not know. 

Here is a compilation of some of the more interesting ones.

Not all countries celebrate New Year on the same day

New Year, also called New Year's Day, is the first day of the year. 

Not all countries have the same calendar, so they celebrate it at different times of the year. 

In the days of the Capetian kings, the year began on Easter Day. 

It was only from 1622 that people began celebrating New Year on January 1 -a measure taken by the Pope, which made it possible to simplify the calendar of religious festivals.

In the modern world, the Chinese celebrate New Year between January 20 and February 18. 

For Tibetans, the New Year is celebrated on February 25. But the date varies every year.

In the Jewish religion, the new year "Roch Hana" is celebrated in September-October.

Someone ushers in the New Year every hour!

Since the world is divided into different time zones, not all countries enter the New Year at the same time! 

When it is midnight in Paris, it is only 6 p.m in New York, United States. 

So, every hour, it is midnight somewhere on earth and people are celebrating in their time zone! 

If this is the case, one might wonder what country celebrates the new year first. 

If we use the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) as a reference, New Zealanders are the first to celebrate New Year's Day.

We all usher in the New Year differently

The first day of the year is sacred in some way as it marks our destiny for the whole year to come. 

However, each country, each person, each religion celebrates this long-awaited day in its own unique way, each has its codes and unchanging rites of "passage" to ward off bad luck and attract good luck.

Most commonly, on the evening of December 31, everyone gathers with family or friends to celebrate the new year. 

When the  clock strikes midnight on the night of December 31 to January 1, everyone wishes each other a "Happy New Year and good health!"

Some unique traditions about New Year

While we all know about the common celebratory practices when the new year begins, here are some unique traditions from Norway, Ireland, and Japan that I think you should know about.

Norway: In Norway, people hide an almond in rice pudding. Whoever finds the almond when eating the pudding is supposedly going to be lucky in the new year.

Also, when the clock strikes midnight, the king of Norway gives a speech that is held in high regard as it symbolizes unity.

Even more interesting, Norwegians try as much as possible not to sleep the day after New Year because they believe that sleeping eliminates good luck.

Ireland: Ireland has unique New Year traditions. For example, people bang the walls of their houses with Christmas bread. 

While this might sound crazy to some of us, the Irish believe that doing so wards off bad luck and invites good spirits for the new year.

In the New Year, the Irish also watch the direction in which the wind is blowing. If the wind blows to the West, then the New Year will bring luck.

But if the wind moves East, then their English counterparts will receive a better fortune.

Japan: In Japan, the New Year (Oshōgatsu) is an important holiday to celebrate with the family. 

New Year's Eve customs begin at the end of December with a big household or “Nenmatsu no ōsōji” to purify the house. 

This is adorned for the occasion with symbolic decorations such as the "kadomatsu", which is a lucky charm, and the "kagami mochi", an offering made up of rice cakes and a small bitter orange. 

The Japanese also take the opportunity to settle their debts and liquidate their current affairs.

Share with us your traditions

No matter how you decide to usher in the New Year, be sure to have fun! And write to History Chip to share your experiences with us! Happy New Year!