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Party Like a Local: New Year’s Around the World

Are you absolutely in love with New Year’s Eve? Do you proudly adorn yourself each year with sparkling hats and numbered sunglasses? Do you  stretch yourself to the limit year after year, traveling through the busy streets to get to the nearest fireworks display or working to create the best New Year’s Eve party that your friends have ever seen? If so, FlipKey may have your ultimate travel itinerary all planned out for 2014. While many individuals around the world designate January 1st as the dawn of the new year, some cultures abide by different calendars and thus celebrate the new year during different seasons. It is true that the Gregorian calendar that is followed in America is also the most widely recognized and utilized calendar in the world, but several other religious and astronomical calendars are referred to in other parts of the world, thereby designating a stream of holidays different from our own. While all of these calendars have a date designating the end of one year and the start of a new year, the way that this day is celebrated, and the season in which it appears, differs greatly for each. If you love New Year’s Eve and you’d like to learn about how it’s practiced in the rest of the world, check out this world-wide New Year’s Eve itinerary!

Old New Year (Orthodox New Year)

Celebration start date in 2014 according to the Gregorian calendar: January 13th

Mainly celebrated by those in Russia, Serbia, and Macedonia who follow Orthodox traditions, Old New Year is celebrated as the first day of the Julian calendar. This holiday is celebrated in a similar way to the Gregorian calendar’s New Year with lively parties, music, and sometimes fireworks. For countries like Russia, Old New Year doesn’t replace the Gregorian calendar’s New Year, rather many individuals embrace both holidays, making January an extra festive month!

Chinese New Year

Celebration start date in 2014 according to the Gregorian calendar: January 31st

Chinese New Year, also known as “Spring Festival”, is a fifteen day celebration that starts on the last day of the Chinese lunisolar calendar to the fifteenthday of its first month. Although this holiday is popularly referred to as Chinese New Year, it is recognized in several other countries as well including Taiwan, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The festivities surrounding this holiday include parades, lanterns, dragon and lion dances, as well as plenty of fireworks. A visit to mainland China during these celebrations is sure to be thrilling for any traveler!


Celebration start date in 2014 according to the Gregorian calendar: March 20th

Nowruz, also known as “Persian New Year”, is the Iranian New Year that is celebrated in accordance with the Persian calendar. In Iran, Nowruz is celebrated for thirteen days and is marked by the first day of spring. This holiday also falls on the March equinox when the sun’s light is divided equally between the northern and southern hemispheres. Today, this holiday is celebrated in several different countries including Pakistan and Afghanistan and is even recognized in some American cities with larger Iranian populations. This day is widely celebrated by giving the home a good “spring cleaning” and spending time with friends and family.


Celebration start date in 2014 according to the Gregorian calendar: April 13th

The Songkran festival is Thailand’s New Year celebration. While the festival is partially a time to spend time with family and particularly elders, it is also an opportunity to share traditions with community members and passersby. Take extra caution if you plan on visiting Thailand during this celebration as one of the most popular festival traditions is to throw buckets of water on one another as a blessing for the new year! However, this may also serve as a welcome surprise being that April is one of the hottest months in Thailand. In addition to throwing water on individuals in the street, the Thai people will also splash water onto images of Buddha that are paraded around the streets or put up in monasteries in order to “cleanse” and bless his image.


Celebration start date in 2014 according to the Gregorian calendar: September 11th

The first day of the Ethiopian calendar is marked by the end of the rainy season, but is at it’s essence a celebration of the return of the Queen of Sheba to Ethiopia in accordance with the biblical account. This day is celebrated by church gatherings, the singing of New Year’s songs, and gift exchanges.

Rosh Hashanah

Celebration start date in 2014 according to the Gregorian calendar: September 24th

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is celebrated starting on the first day of Tishrei, which is the first month of the Hebrew calendar. The celebration of the Hebrew new year comes with many important religious customs including prayers, traditional foods such as apples and honey in order to bring in the “sweet” new year, and the blowing of a shofar, a curved horn that is blown one hundred times in a set of sequences during services at the synagogue.While this holiday is normally recognized as a time for prayer and reflection rather than rowdy all-nighters, many Jewish families get together for a traditional dinner to recognize the new calendar year, so whether you’re celebrating in America or Israel, there is plenty of fun to be had with friends and family during this holiday!

Hijri New Year

Celebration start date in 2014 according to the Gregorian calendar: October 25th

Also known as Islamic New Year, this holiday corresponds with the first day of the Islamic calendar. The beginning of the Islamic calendar corresponds with the Hijra, which is the Islamic prophet Muhammed’s migration from Mecca to Medina. In Muslim nations, the observance of this holiday is generally quiet and subdued and many Muslims even fast during this time to recognize the religious significance of the day.