This is interesting! How they celebrate the New Year in Eastern countries.
When and how they celebrate New Year’s Eve in different countries. And why there is such a difference at all. Today we will try to look into the origins of some of the traditions of the countries of the East. Not all of them, of course, but the most surprising, perhaps. Well, shall we begin?
The history of Chinese New Year celebrations goes back many centuries. It has no fixed date, it is calculated according to the lunar-solar calendar of the Far East. Beginning of the year falls on the second new moon after winter solstice, and therefore moves between January 21 and February 21. Each year is associated with a certain zodiac sign and element. Thus, each time New Year in China falls on a different date of the Gregorian calendar that we are accustomed to.
In China, there are a lot of traditions and superstitions associated with the celebration of the New Year. The Chinese themselves call the New Year a Spring Festival, and the history of this holiday is more than 4000 years old.
A very important tradition is to clean the house before the New Year, when they wash, clean and throw away everything unnecessary from the house. Before the New Year, five long strips of paper were hung on the doorpost to symbolize the “five kinds of happiness”: good luck, honor, longevity, wealth and joy.
Family comes first. Therefore, everyone is sure to return to their parents’ home to celebrate the main holiday as a family.
According to ancient tradition, at the meeting of the New Year is supposed to create noise and bustle. Since the XIV century in China, there was a custom on New Year’s Eve to throw bamboo sticks in the oven, which, burning, issued a strong crackle and thus scare away evil spirits. Later on, the sticks (baoju) were replaced by firecrackers and pyrotechnics, but the name remained the same.
There was also a belief that evil spirits are afraid of the color red, so the color red prevailed everywhere on holidays. Instead of a Christmas tree in China, they decorate the so-called Tree of Light with flowers, garlands and lanterns. Usually it is a decorated tangerine tree.
The festive New Year’s Eve dinner ends with the distribution of “lucky money”. Adults give children red envelopes with money in them.
In China, they believe in the following omens:
-It is believed that one should not do housecleaning or wash one’s hair during the first three days of the new year, as it will sweep away/wipe away good luck
-Children’s crying is believed to bring bad luck to the family, so they try to pacify the children
-It is forbidden to borrow money or take credit
-And, of course, red underwear.
The New Year in Japan is one of the favorite holidays, celebrated in the night from December, 31 to January, 1. Because the vacation, which lasts from December 28 to January 4, stops almost all business life in the country.
The brightest event on the eve of the New Year are the numerous fairs. Instead of the usual Christmas tree with colorful balls, the homes of these people are decorated with the so-called Kadomatsu, which means “pine tree at the entrance. It is made, as a rule, from pine and bamboo, which are woven with rice straw rope. Kadomatsu is the traditional greeting to the Deity of the New Year’s Day festival.
Japanese people decorate their homes with bouquets of bamboo or willow branches and hang moti (dough pieces) in the form of flowers, fish or fruit on them. This decoration is called motibana and is painted in yellow, green and pink.
The New Year in Japan comes at 108 beats of bells, which are heard at midnight from Buddhist temples. According to religion, there are six vices in man; he can be greedy, greedy, wicked, foolish, frivolous and indecisive. Each of these has eighteen shades. The striking of a bell frees a Japanese man from one of these evils.
Meeting the first dawn of the year is an invariable ritual that has been observed by the Japanese for centuries. The celebration of the New Year in Japan for the natives is quiet and not solemn, usually at a festive dinner with their families. No long feasts and toasts.
On New Year’s Eve it is customary to exchange unsophisticated “oseibo” gifts.
Japanese children also have their own traditions. On New Year’s Eve, they put an exact drawing of their dreams under the pillow, confident that it will come true. It is not customary to give each other flowers on this holiday. It is believed that this right can only enjoy the carriers of the imperial family, which from ordinary Japanese do not accept flowers. An obligatory New Year’s Eve marathon is the moment of cleaning and disposal of last year’s souvenirs. The Japanese are convinced that the New Year should be celebrated in a new way, getting rid of junk and old things.
3.Thailand celebrates the New Year on April 13. While we look forward to New Year’s Eve 2021, in Thailand it’s the year 2564.
The Thais are so fond of the anticipation of the holidays and solemn processions and festivals that they celebrate the New Year not once, not twice, but as many as three times a year: -Traditional European – celebrated as in the rest of the world, at night from December 31 to January 1. Despite not at all winter weather, the main attribute is still the garlands, Christmas tree and fireworks.
-Chinese or Buddhist – its date varies depending on the phase of the moon. Each year, the number is specifically calculated based on the lunar calendar. It usually fluctuates between January 21 and the month after. The date is the first new moon after the winter solstice, which falls just on January 21.
-National Thai, also called “Songkran” – is always celebrated on April 13 and a few more days after that. There are several legends associated with this particular date. According to one, more down-to-earth, it was calculated by ancient astrologers, and since then no one has changed the time.
Songkran itself, as a rule, is celebrated at the family table. Later, mass processions with music and fireworks begin. The most amazing tradition is the habit of pouring cold water on each other. The dousing lasts for several days and catches everyone wherever they go. There are even special barrels of water on the streets, from where you can fill buckets, tubs, basins, bottles – everything you can get at hand to pour over the neighbor. It is believed that pouring water on others, you wish them happiness, prosperity and good luck.
Familiar to us Santa Claus in Thailand you will not find, except in major cities, such as Bangkok, Pattaya, and even then not everywhere.
There are a number of Buddhist customs associated with the celebration of Songran:
-A few days Buddhists begin to attend services in temples, meditate, read mantras, ask the deities for joy, health and happiness.
-Do a lot of housecleaning, throwing out old things.
-Cook a lot of good food, some of which is given to the monks as alms.
-Wear new light-colored outfits.
-After the family dinner, leftovers and small garbage are picked up and thrown away in a deserted place.
-The statues of Buddha on the altar are washed with clean water.
Only recently, under the influence of the West, in India began to consider January 1 as a holiday date.
The role of the Christmas tree in India is performed by the mango tree. In addition to traditional toys, it is decorated with fruits and vegetables. On the eve of the holiday, many Indians burn or throw away old clothes to meet the New Year in new clothes. It is customary to serve dishes lavishly laden with spices. The spicier the food, the happier the next year will be. Beriane, which is rice with vegetables, or simply pilaf, is an obligatory dish.
As New Year’s gifts, in India it is customary to give sweets, fruit, nuts. According to Indian tradition, the way you spend the first day of the New Year is the way you spend the rest of it. Therefore, on January 1 all the Indians are in a good mood, behave courteously and politely to their loved ones and others.
You can celebrate the New Year in India in several ways.
New Year – Lori – January 13-14 is celebrated in northern India, is a kind of mixture of familiar to us “old New Year” and the Shrovetide. On this day fires are lit, around which the ritual circumambulation – parikrama.
New Year according to the lunar calendar (March-April). In many states of India it is considered a real New Year and is celebrated on a much bigger scale than the traditional one. There are different names for it: Ugadi, Vaisakhi, Vishu… Some of them start celebrating it on the day of spring solstice (March, 20-22), the other – in the middle of April, when the real spring comes.
Diwali (October) is celebrated by some people in India, and considers it the real New Year, while others call it nothing other than “Autumn” to distinguish it from the previous one, the spring one. It is considered a holiday of fire and light, so it is very colorful and bright.
Given the versatility of New Year in the country, India can safely be called the most New Year’s Eve country in the world. Houses are decorated with flowers. Due to the climate, decorating the house with fresh flowers is unburdensome to the family budget. The ritual ablutions on New Year’s Eve strives to perform every Indian.
5. Ethiopia celebrates the New Year on September 11.
Ethiopia is one of the two or three countries in the world where life still flows according to the Julian calendar, so in Ethiopia they celebrate the New Year, Enkutatash, on September 11. The Ethiopian New Year marks the end of the great rainy season, which lasts about three months, and the beginning of the new harvest season.
Ethiopians build tall bonfires of eucalyptus and fir trees. In Addis Ababa’s main square, the assembled townspeople watch to see which way the charred top of the main bonfire will fall. That side will be the most abundant harvest in the coming year.
The celebration is not so much entertainment as it is religious, because the legend of the Queen of Sheba and her chosen one, King Solomon, is reflected in the holy books – the Koran and the Bible. For this reason, early in the morning on the festive day, locals in their national costumes head to the churches for the festive processions.
During the celebration, they wear traditional clothes, go to church and visit.
Children in brightly colored outfits hand out wreaths of flowers, go around the neighborhood and, for a monetary reward, girls sing and boys draw pictures.
On this day, Ethiopian tables are filled with the national cuisine of tuat (stew), thin tortillas (injera), and the national beer (tella).
6. Saudi Arabia does not celebrate the New Year. Here, it has been established, celebrating the change of dates is alien to Islam and no religions other than Islam are recognized in Saudi Arabia and the propaganda, much less the public veneration of the traditions of other religions, is forbidden in the country. Residents of Saudi Arabia are prohibited from publicly expressing their joy over the New Year on December 31 and January 1, and local stores are prohibited from selling holiday gifts as well as flowers.
There are only three holidays in Saudi Arabia: Independence Day, the celebration of the end of the month of Ramadan, and the Festival of Sacrifice. Well, every Friday is a day of rest in the Muslim world.
As for the New Year, in Islam it does not coincide with the Gregorian. In Islam, the year is shorter than the year we are used to, by 11-12 days, and the date of the year “floats” in our calendar, shifting every year by these 11-12 days.
On Muslim New Year in the mosques of Saudi Arabia, a sermon is preached on the Prophet Muhammad’s move from Mecca to Medina in 622, the starting point of the Muslim lunar calendar.
In Saudi Arabia’s neighboring Arab countries, attitudes toward the Western New Year differ considerably. For example, the authorities of the Emirate of Dubai staged a record-setting fireworks display on the festive night, the most expensive in the world, using 400,000 charges in six minutes. The show even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.
7. In Israel, the New Year comes in the fall. In Israel, the New Year has three dates of celebration. The European New Year falls on the night from December 31 to January 1. Residents of Israel do not celebrate the holiday widely. The only drawback is that neither December 31, nor January 1 are days off in the country.
On a larger scale, they celebrate the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), which takes place on the new moon of the fall month of Tishrei in the Jewish calendar (falling in September or October).
The Jewish or religious New Year is called Rosh HaShanah, and its date is determined by the Jewish calendar. As a rule, the celebration falls in September or October and depends directly on the lunar calendar. According to the Torah, it is the day when God created the world, so time is counted from this day. The Jewish calendar is 3761 years behind the Jewish year (which means that in 2021 there will be 5782 Jewish years). All Jews believe that on the first day of the New Year, God evaluates the deeds of all those living on earth that they have done during the year and decides on plans for the coming year. Therefore, they say prayers and observe certain rituals. According to tradition, on New Year’s Day in Israel in synagogues necessarily blow the Shofar (a musical wind instrument), the sound of which calls all believers to rethink all their sins, repentance, goodness of all thoughts and calls all people to God’s judgment.
In January or February, the country celebrates Tu-bi-Shvat – another New Year, only it is dedicated to Trees. It is customary to plant green plants and have lavish feasts, with fruits and vegetables as the main dishes, so that the year will be rich and fruitful.
Here we have got acquainted with some features of New Year celebrations in the Eastern countries. If you liked it, come in. We will learn many more interesting things. Thank you for your attention!