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The New Year Chronicles

The New Year Chronicles
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Once mere a date of the new month, the 1 January has acclaimed the celebratory status across the country in particular and across the globe in general. Come the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday and the celebrations to greet the onset of New Year will be in full swing across the globe. The party will be on for the whole night and the dance floor will be jam-packed with party animals to paint the town red. On the first day of the year, people make resolutions to get rid of all the elements that they think might have been in the list of ‘drop it for better tomorrow’. It has become a festival than just a normal holiday. Aficionados even believe that the kind of thought, act that they carry on this first day of the year, get carried throughout the year, so they try to avoid anti-social activities on the day.

The history and adaptation of 1 January for celebrations is another issue which is must to be discussed as New Year is the time at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar’s year count is incremented. In many cultures, the event is celebrated in some manner. Nowadays, the New Year of the Gregorian calendar is in use across the world which falls on 1 January (New Year’s Day). There are numerous calendars that remain in regional use that calculate the New Year differently.

The order of months in the Roman calendar was January to December since King Numa Pompilius in about 700 BC, according to Plutarch and Macrobius. It was only relatively recently that 1 January again became the first day of the year in Western culture. Until 1751 in England and Wales (and all British dominions) the New Year started on 25 March – Lady Day, one of the four quarter days (the change to 1 January took place in 1600 in Scotland). Since then, 1 January has been the first day of the year. During the Middle Ages several other days were variously taken as the beginning of the calendar year (1 March, 25 March, Easter, 1 September, 25 December).

With the expansion of Western culture to many other places in the world during recent centuries, the Gregorian calendar has been adopted by many other countries as the official calendar, and the 1 January date of New Year has become global, even in countries with their own New Year celebrations on other days (such as Israel, China and India). In the culture of Latin America there are a variety of traditions and superstitions surrounding these dates as omens for the coming year. The most common modern dates of celebration are listed below, ordered and grouped by their appearance relative to the conventional Western calendar.

The first day of the year (1 January) in the Gregorian calendar used by most countries. Eight of the twelve biggest Eastern Orthodox Churches which have adopted the Revised Julian calendar – Bulgaria, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Romania, Syria, and Turkey – also celebrate 1 January as the New Year. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the civil New Year falls on Gregorian 14 January (1 January in the Julian calendar). Many in the countries where Eastern Orthodoxy predominates celebrate both the Gregorian and Julian New Year holidays, with the Gregorian day celebrated as a civic holiday, and the Julian date as the ‘Old New Year’, a religious holiday. The orthodox churches of Georgia, Jerusalem, Russia, the Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine still use the Julian calendar.

The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, occurs every year on the new moon of the first lunar month, about the beginning of spring (Lichun). The exact date can fall any time between 21 January and 21 February (inclusive) of the Gregorian calendar. Traditionally, years were marked by one of twelve earthly branches, represented by an animal, and one of ten heavenly stems, which correspond to the five elements. This combination cycles every 60 years. It is the most important Chinese celebration of the year.

The Vietnamese New Year is the T?t Nguyên Ðán which most times is the same day as the Chinese New Year due to the Vietnamese using Chinese calendar. The Tibetan New Year is Losar and falls from January through March. Nava (new) varsha (year) is celebrated in India in various regions in March–April. New Year’s Day in the Sikh Nanakshahi calendar is on 14 March.

The Iranian New Year, called Nowruz, is the day containing the exact moment of the Northward equinox, which usually occurs on 20 or 21 March, commencing the start of the spring season. The Zoroastrian New Year coincides with the Iranian New Year of Nowruz and is celebrated by the Parsis in India and by Zoroastrians and Persians across the world. In the Bahá’í calendar, the new year occurs on the vernal equinox on 21 March, and is called Naw-Rúz. The Iranian tradition was also passed on to Central Asian countries, including Kazakhs, Uzbeks, and Uighurs, and there is known as Nauryz. It is usually celebrated on 22 March.

The Balinese New Year, based on the Saka calendar (Balinese-Javanese Calendar), is called Nyepi, and it falls on Bali’s Lunar New Year (26 March in 2009). It is a day of silence, fasting, and meditation.

Ugadi, the Telugu and Kannada New Year, generally falls in the months of March or April. The people of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka states in southern India celebrate the advent of New Year’s Day in these months. This day is celebrated across entire Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka as Ugadi (in Sanskrit, Yuga (era or epoch or year) and adi (the beginning or the primordial), start of a new year). The first month is Chaitra Masa (month).

Gudi Padwa is celebrated as the first day of the Hindu year by the people of Maharashtra, India. This day falls in March or April and coincides with Ugadi. Sindhi festival of Cheti Chand is celebrated on the same day as Ugadi/Gudi Padwa to mark the celebration of the Sindhi New Year.
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