6 Cultures That Don't Celebrate New Year's On January 1

While many countries in the world are celebrating the beginning of 2017, many others will wait a few weeks or even months before welcoming the New Year. And some cultures won't even be ringing in 2017 this year because they use different calendars than us. So to start off the new Gregorian year with a bit of reflection, here are six cultures that celebrate New Year's on different days.

1. Chinese New Year

Date: Jan. 28, 2017
Year: 4715

We'll get the most obvious one out of the way first. As everyone who enjoys midwinter Chinese feasts knows, this Asian country rings in the New Year between January 21 - February 20 because they use a lunar calendar. The Chinese year 4715 is set to begin this on Jan. 28, 2017, based on the Gregorian Calendar. And as usual, there will be lots of fireworks, dragons and feathers to celebrate the Year of the Fire Rooster.

2. Korea's Seollal

Date: Jan. 28, 2017
Year: 2017

The biggest holiday in Korean culture is Seollal, but celebrating the New Year is a much more solemn event in the far east than in North America. Traditions include a ceremony to honor ancestors, asking elders for blessings, eating special family meals and enjoying outdoor activities like kite flying. 

3. Bali's Nyepi

Date: March 28, 2017
Year: 1938

New Year's Day is even more sombre in the Indonesian island of Bali, which becomes a giant ghost town. For a full 24 hours, the island observes a Day of Silence. That means radio and TV transmissions are turned off, airports and seaports are closed down and the streets are deserted - except for guards patrolling to make sure nobody is making noise on this special day of introspection. 

But the night before is a different story. To gear up for quiet time, the Balinese make a ton of noise, banging pots and pans, setting off fireworks and parading effigies of demons that are later burned in public. After all that, it's no wonder people want some quiet time.


4. Persian New Year

Date: March 20, 2017
Year: 1395

In Iran, New Year's Day - which is called Nowruz - coincides with the first day of spring. But it's almost like Black Friday because shopping is an important event - especially since wearing new clothes is an important annual tradition. Locals also buy pastries and items beginning with an "ess" sound to decorate their traditional Haft-Seen table. Yes, alliteration is a big part of Nowruz. 

But it's not all fun and games. Spring cleaning is another important New Year custom in Iran.

5. India's Ugadi

Date: March 28, 2017
Year: 2074

For the Kannada and Telugu peoples of India, New Year's is called Ugadi - a Hindu festival that involves spring cleaning, praying for the new year, decorating houses with mangoes and preparing special dishes that capture the bittersweet emotions that will be experienced in the months ahead: sadness, happiness, anger, fear, disgust, surprise.

6. Rosh Hashanah 

Date: September 20, 2017
Year: 5778

Jewish people around the world celebrate Rosh Hashanah with traditions that include sounding the shofar (ram's horn) in synagogue and eating special foods like dates, beans, leeks, beets, gourds, pomegranates, apples dipped in honey and other ritual foods. And each one has special meaning.

Here's The Big Bang Theory's Mayim Bialik explaining some of the foods and traditions - and blowing that ram's horn.

Banner image: Zexsen Xie/Flickr.


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