New Year, as the name suggests, marks the beginning of the year. New Year’s Day is the first day of the year and is observed on 1st January i.e. the first day of the modern Gregorian calendar along with the Julian Calendar. New Year 2018 will be celebrated on 1st January 2018 and will be observed as a national holiday across the globe. Gregorian calendar is the most widely used calendar in major parts of the world. Julian Calendar and Roman Calendar that preceded it also observe 1st January as New Year’s day. Initially, i.e. during the middle ages New Year dates and days used to vary every now and then. However, post 1582, with the adoption of Gregorian Calendar and changes in the old and new style dates, the day that begins the year was then fixed to January 1st.
New Year Party and celebrations are observed all across the world as people welcome the year with much gusto and enthusiasm. New Year’s Eve is observed on the last day of the year, i.e. 31st December, of modern Gregorian Calendar. It is a night before 1st January, which basically celebrates the onset of New Year. New Year’s eve is also known as Saint Sylvester’s Day or Old Year’s Day. People throw New Year’s party and welcome the next year with their family and friends amidst dance and music. New year’s eve celebrations continue past midnight till the date changes to January 1st.
New Year Celebrations and Days in India vary from region to region and it is celebrated according to the Hindu Calendar. As per Hindu Calendar, New year is observed in the Chaitra month and is popularly known as Gudi Padwa. Gujarati New Year is celebrated at the time of Diwali. However, nowadays, majorly everyone celebrates New Year on the first day of the year, i.e. January 1st.
NEW YEAR - CELEBRATIONS
New Year is the most celebrated public holiday across the globe. People all over the world welcome the next year and celebrate it in their own way. Every part of the world has its own distinct way of making the New Year celebrations memorable. The preparation for New year festivities begins by end December with everyone getting into the mood of New year’s party.
In earlier days, New Year's Day was observed only on 1st January and was more of a religious feast. But from the 1900s, the celebrations to welcome the next year begin from a night before i.e. 31st December and it is popularly known as New Year’s Eve. It has now become a festival of a kind when friends and family come together to rejoice, revel and celebrate. Fireworks is another important aspect of New Year’s celebrations. Beautiful fireworks fill up the sky on New year’s eve as soon as the clock strikes 12. Observance of Watch Night Services is also done by many.
New Year’s Day Celebrations also include parades, traditional feasts, concerts, football, get-togethers, Happy New Year Greetings and exchange of gifts by family and friends.
UNIQUE TRADITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH NEW YEAR
In some parts of Europe, New year is welcomed with private fireworks.
Polar Bear Plunge is another interesting tradition that is associated with celebrating New years. Some of the people in the USA, the UK, Netherlands, Canada and Republic of Ireland gather around the beach and jump into the water to celebrate the coming year.
In countries of Cyprus and Greece, the entire family switches the lights off at midnight which is then followed by cutting of the Basil’s Pie (Vasilopita) which has one coin in it. It is believed that whoever gets the coin in their piece will have luck in their favor the entire year.
In Spain, the tradition of 12 grapes is an interesting tradition. According to this custom, people need to hold 12 grapes in hand before the clock strikes 12 at midnight. One grape has to be eaten at one stroke. Those who eat all the grapes in the required time are believed to be showered with luck and happiness the next year.
Ice Hockey is one unique New Year tradition observed in Switzerland.
In France, the direction of the winds on this day determines the weather prediction for the next year. Wind blowing north signifies good weather throughout the year, wind blowing east implies yielding of fruit, wind blowing west means a good time for livestock and fish while wind blowing south implies crop failure.
One of the grandest New year celebration takes place in the USA. In this country, the tradition is to spend this time of the year with the loved ones. Fireworks, kisses and party have become one of the most significant customs here. People even raise a toast to the coming year on New year’s eve. Dropping the ball is one of the major events that happen at midnight of New year’s eve. The ball at Times Square is dropped 60 seconds prior the clock strikes 12 and is lowered entirely at midnight amidst the shouts of countdowns. As soon as the ball drops, New Year’s arrival is announced with live music, fireworks and live celebrations that are broadcasted across the world.
NEW YEAR - SIGNIFICANCE
New Year not only marks the beginning of the next year but it also implies letting go of the negative past and beginning things on a fresh and positive note. People meet and greet each other with Happy New Year wishes and happiness and positivity engulf everyone across the globe. It is that time of the year when all near and dear ones enjoy this day together.