I imagine most folks who see this post will think the title is a silly question. I thought it was until I looked a little deeper. The answer should be simple. The celebrations are New Year’s Eve December 31st and New Year’s Day January 1st. This year, 2015, that’s a Thursday and Friday. But it’s not that simple. It gets complicated. Other cultures, peoples, and religions honor the New Year in their own way and in their own time. Anyone who has eaten at a Chinese restaurant has been exposed to the Chinese New Year. 2015 is the year of the goat and 2016 will be the year of the monkey. The Chinese New Year is based on the first day of the lunar calendar which fell on January 31st in 2014 (the year of the horse) February 19th, 2015, and will be observed on February 8th in 2016. The Chinese are not the only culture whose observance of the New Year and traditions don’t coincide with the western world.

Here are a few more

  • Rosh Hashanah –The Jewish celebration of the New Year falls somewhere in September or October. In 2015 the Jewish New Year began at sundown on September 11.
  • Ethiopian – September 11th
  • Cambodian and Thai April 13th and 14th
  • Pembrokeshire, Wales – Observes the Julian calendar New Year on January 13th.
  • Hindu – Observance varies by sect but most fall in March or April.
  • Vietnamese – The Tet celebration varies between January 20 and February 20th.

It’s not so cut and dried

Here in the states we are entrenched in New Year’s traditions, the dropping of the ball on Times Square, the playing of Auld Sang Syne (translated from Welsh into English as old long since) and serving corned beef and cabbage on New Year’s Day. But not all peoples around the world watch the ball drop. Some are waiting for their New Year Celebration in February, March, or May. I’m considering celebrating them all in 2016. Want to join me? Happy New Year!

Photo by Kenny Louie / CC BY-SA