A Quick Glance at 4 Different Cultural New Year’s Holidays Around the World

/ January 1, 2023

Hey kids! Did you know? Not all New Year’s celebrations are the same worldwide, nor do they take place at the same time. In fact, our New Year’s culture is just one of many that go on to commemorate the coming of a new calendar year, and with 2023 already here why not take some time to go over the most popular New Year observances that go on throughout our planet and how they came to be.

  • The Gregorian New Year

Also known as the Christian or Western New Year, the Gregorian calendar is the one we traditionally use to count our days and celebrate observances in the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and more.

Introduced by (and named after) Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, the Gregorian calendar centers around the birth of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, marked as the year 1. While in actuality, historians have discovered that Jesus was most likely born earlier than they initially thought (around 6-4 B.C.), we still use the initial year 1 introduced by Pope Gregory XIII to mark our current calendar and yearly system.

Gregorian New Year’s Date of Observance: January 1st

Upcoming Gregorian Year: 2023

  • The Chinese/Lunar New Year

While we follow a solar calendar in our Gregorian tradition, the first day of the Chinese New Year begins with the coming of the new moon that occurs between 21 January and 20 February, also known as the Lunar New Year.

The Chinese/Lunar calendar has been held as a tradition since the 14th century B.C. Cultural legends say that the first Emperor of China, Emperor Huangdi, invented the Chinese lunar calendar in 2637 B.C., using the moon’s rotational orbit as a means to keep track of time. The Lunar New Year is also observed in other Far-Eastern Asian countries, such as Vietnam, Korea, Malaysia, and more.

Upcoming Lunar New Year’s Date of Observance: January 20, 2023

Upcoming Lunar Year: 4721

  • The Islamic (Hijri) New Year

Year 1 in the Islamic, or Hijri, calendar marks the year that the Arabian prophet Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina with his early followers, which is equal to the year 622 A.D. as per our Gregorian calendar.

The first month of the Islamic calendar and the Hijri New Year are observed in during our Gregorian mid-summer, and a new day in its calendar begins at sundown, not when the clock strikes midnight. Created by Khalifa Umar ibn Al-Khattab, the second Muslim caliph, during the 5th century.

Upcoming Islamic/Hijri New Year’s Date of Observance: July 18-19, 2023

Upcoming Islamic/Hijri Year: 1445

  • The Jewish/Hebrew New Year (Rosh Hashanah)

Unlike the previous New Year observances mentioned above, the Jewish New Year, also known as Rosh Hashanah, occurs over a span of two days rather than one and traditionally takes place in mid-September.

The first year count within the Hebrew calendar begins in our Gregorian year equivalent of 3761 B.C. The current Hebrew calendar was introduced in the 12th century by the Jewish philosopher Maimonides, who used the first year of the Hebrew calendar to mark God’s creation of Adam, the first man.

Upcoming Jewish New Year’s Date of Observance: September 15-17, 2023

Upcoming Jewish Year: 5784

More New Year’s Cultures to Explore!

As you can see, when a new year actually begins varies from culture to culture, and there are other New Year celebrations not mentioned in the above list, including the Buddhist/Tibetan Losar New Year, the Liturgical Eastern and Oriental Orthodox New Year based on the Julian calendar, and also the multiple new year’s traditions that are held and celebrated in India that differ between regions.

Hope you had fun reading and learned something new and fascinating about our vastly cultural world! From all of us at Unicorn Jazz – Have a Happy Blessed New Year!

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