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       Happy New Year
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All over the world people like to celebrate with festivals and holidays. There are different festivals and holidays celebrated around the world, mostly religious. However the arrival of “New Year” is celebrated in all religions and cultures. It is one of the world’s oldest traditions, carried out very fondly. The idea of forgetting your worries and old disputes, to have a new beginning  and hope for a better future is also very healthy for us.

“New Year’s Day” however is not celebrated at the same time, around the world. People in different places welcome the New Year at different times, according to their own customs and traditions.

In ancient times people did not have calendars. They measured time with changing seasons. Some people marked the beginning of New Year with the arrival of spring. In some parts of the world New Year began at the harvest time. And in some other parts, the New Year is considered to arrive with the rainy season.

Let us take a look at some of the world’s most interesting New Year’s celebrations.

Most of us celebrate the New Year’s Day on January 1. This calendar where a year begins on 1st of January and ends on 31st December was introduced by the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, about two thousand years ago.
In the United States, on December 31st, people get together and have parties. In New York, in Times Square, thousands of people gather to watch the slow descent of a huge lighted ball over flagpoles. People cheer as the ball reaches the bottom at the stroke of midnight. Millions of people all over the nation watch this on television.

ScarecrowIn Ecuador - South America, on December 31st people say goodbye to the “Old Year”, and then welcome the “New Year”. Families make a scarecrow from straw. They dress him up. They also write a list of the faults, of all family members. Then at midnight they burn this scarecrow along with the list of faults. Thus they will have a fresh start.

In Spain when the clock starts to strike 12 at midnight people eat a grape on grapes each stroke. They have to eat 12 grapes with 12 strokes. Grapes are thought to bring good luck. Each stroke stands for each month of the year and there is a grape for every month. People have lot of fun eating 12 grapes in 12 strokes.

In Nigeria, Africa, the New Year begins with the rainy season. That is when the new crop is planted. As the Old Year ends, children run inside the houses and lock the doors. They remain inside till the Old Year passes away. Then every one, young or old comes outside and welcomes the New Year with applause.

Horn of IranJews all over the world call their New Year festival “Rosh Hashanah”. It usually comes in September. Everyone goes to the Synagogue. During the services a ram’s horn is blown. People pray and pledge to be better people. Families get together for a festive meal. Apples dipped in honey are a specialty of the meal.

In Iran the New Year is called “Nouruz”, which means “New Day”. Nouruz is celebrated on the first day of spring, March 20th. The festival lasts for two weeks. Before Nouruz people plant wheat or lentil seeds in tiny pots. They clean their houses. Buy new clothes. Eat eggs and rice pilaf. Friends and families meet and give gifts. On the last day of Nouruz everyone goes for a picnic. They think it is unlucky to stay indoors. They also throw their pots of plants into rivers or streams. People believe this gets rid of the bad luck.

The Chinese New Year comes between mid January to mid February. This is a time to enjoy,Chinese Dragon visit family and friends. This is a festival of lanterns. Lanterns can be seen everywhere. People wear new clothes and eat special foods. Children receive good luck money wrapped in red paper. At night there are fireworks and a huge parade led by a dragon. The Dragon is a symbol of strength and good luck.

In India New Year comes in October or November, during the festival of lights called “Diwali”. People light lots of tiny lamps, and place them around the house. They worship “Lakshmi” the goddess of wealth and prosperity. They pay off their debts and buy new clothes and jewels. Visit family and friends, give gifts and enjoy the fireworks.

Japanese celebrate their New Year on 1st of January. People decorate their houses with good luck symbols. Straw ropes, pine branches, ferns and white ribbons. At midnight temple bells and gongs are rung. Then people begin to laugh. They laugh and laugh, as laughing is supposed to bring them good luck in the New Year.

Wow! We almost went around the globe, and yet have not covered many places. But wherever you go, the theme for a New Year celebration seems to be the same. There is hope for a new beginning and a better future. Many people make New Year’s resolutions to achieve certain goals.

 

bullet point How did you celebrate your New Years Eve? Did you make a new year’s resolution?