New Year’s is an intrinsic part of most cultures and religions, an important rite of passage, the New Year’s is a time for new beginnings, of looking back at the year past in fond remembrance and hoping for better days to come.
Here is a look at how different religions celebrate New Year’s in different parts of the world:
Christian New Year:
With the Gregorian New Year calendar having become the norm all around the world; Christian New Year is generally celebrated on the 1st of January, with much panache and zeal. New Year’s Day parades are organized, songs are sung, along with New Year’s Resolutions being made. All in all the Christian New Year is a time to celebrate the onset of a new beginning.
Hindu New Year:
As evident through history, the Hindu New Year follows the Vikram Samvat who as history retells is associated with the famous King Vikramaditya driving out the Sakas from the city of Ujjain and hence commemorates the dawning of a new era. Generally the Hindu New Year falls in the month of April, and is celebrated with much enthusiasm. Traditions like, lighting of lamps, making rangolis, and offering flowers to the gods are a part of the Hindu New Year celebrations.
Islamic New Year:
Unlike the pomp and show of New Year’s around the world, the Islamic New Year is a sombre event. People gather at the holy places like mosques and Dargahs and offer the special prayers called namaz to the Muslim Prophet Mohammed the patron of Islam. Known as Maal Hijra, the Islamic New Year is celebrated as the first day of Muharram that is the first month according to Hijra Calendar.
Sikh Nanakshahi New Year:
Baisakhi or Vaisakhi is the festival of Sikh Nanakshahi New Year and generally falls on the 13th or the 14th of April, which is the first day according to the Nanakshahi calendar. The occasion is celebrated in the honour of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh who founded the Khalsa Panth, and eliminated the various class differences that were plaguing the society on this day. Traditional Vaisakhi celebrations include dancing and singing which includes the famous Bhangra and Giddas, going to the Gurudwara, long parades followed by a feast.
Parsi New Year:
Known as Jamshedi Navroz in Parsi, The Parsi New Year generally falls on the 21st of March each year. The occasion is names after the famous Parsi King Jamshed who is said to be the founder of the Parsi Calendar. The Parsi New year is celebrated with much zeal, as delectable desserts are prepared along with a visit to the nearest Agiary or Fire Temple. The prayers called Jashan are offered and the feasting then begins.
Jewish New Year:
The Jewish New year is perhaps one of the most important festivals for the Jewish community and generally falls in the month of September/October. The festival begins with Rosh Hashnah and end with the Yom Kippur. The origins of the Jewish New Year are said to be in the holy Bible and date back to almost a thousand years; the celebrations are to take place in the month of Tishri, which is generally September or October. The celebrations go on for almost ten days which are known as Shabbat Shuva and traditions like praying, eating traditional food and giving charity are an intrinsic part of the celebrations.
Buddhist New Year:
The celebrations of New Year in the Buddhist communities occur in two different ways; while the Theravdin countries like Burma, Sri Lanka, Lao, Cambodia and Thailand celebrate the New Year in the month of April, the Mahayana countries celebrate the New Year’s in January, following the occurrence of the first full moon of the month in both cases. New Year celebrations are done according to the two ethnic backgrounds and generally involve, praying, feasting and also the offering of food to the Monks.