WITW New Year’s edition

“Where in the world is the new year celebrated on a day other then January 1st?”

This week’s Where in the World question focused on the new year, specifically what date the new year falls on. All around the world the new year is actually celebrated on a variety of different days. Historically, many cultures utilized the equinox to mark the start of a new year, with the autumnal equinox (falling in 2020 on September 22nd) being the most commonly used. However, many eastern cultures utilize the vernal equinox (falling in 2020 on March 20th) as the marker of the new year, including China, Tibet, Japan, Korea and many others. The decision of making January first the start of the new year came with the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in the 15th century as a modification to the Julian calendar, with the Gregorian calendar continuing to see widespread use to this day.

The most well known later date for new years is Chinese new year, which is typically celebrated between January and February, with the 2020 date falling on January 25th marking the entrance into the year of the rat. But there are many cultures who celebrate the new year even later then that. For example Tibetan new year is not celebrated until February 24th, and Cambodian new year is not celebrated until April 13th. In the Islamic faith, New Year is not celebrated until August 20th!

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