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New Year

From Academic Kids

The New Year is an event that happens when a culture celebrates the end of one year and the beginning of the next. Cultures that measure yearly calendars all have New Year celebrations.

Modern new year celebrations

The most common modern celebrations are:

  • The Chinese New Year occurs every year at a new moon during the winter. The exact date can fall anytime between January 21 and February 21, inclusive, on the Gregorian Calendar. Because the Chinese calendar is astronomically defined, unlike the Gregorian Calendar, the drift of the seasons will change the range. Each year is symbolized by one of twelve animals and one of five elements, with the combinations of animals and elements (or stems) cycling every sixty years. It is perhaps the most important Chinese holiday. The Chinese New Year is generally celebrated with firecrackers, and in some places with a parade.
  • The Vietnamese New Year is the [[T괝] Nguyen Dan. It is celebrated on the same day as Chinese New Year.
  • Some neo-pagans celebrate Samhain as a new year's day representing the new cycle of the Wheel of the Year, although they do not use a different calendar that starts on this day.
  • The Hindu New Year is celebrated usually two days after the festival of Diwali.

Historical dates for the new year

The ancient Roman calendar had only ten months and started the year on 1 March, which is still reflected in the names of some months which derive from Roman numerals: September (Seventh), October (Eighth), November (Ninth), December (Tenth). Around 715 BC the months of January, February and Mercedonius were added to the end of the year (Mercedonius only in leap years). Because consuls were chosen in January, and because years were named after the consuls who served in that year, January became the de facto beginning of the year. In 45 BC, Julius Caesar introduced the Julian calendar, dropping Mercedonius and decreeing that the New Year should start on 1 January.

In the Middle Ages in Europe a number of significant feast days in the Ecclesiastical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church came to be used as the beginning of the year:

Since the 17th century, the Roman Catholic ecclesiastic year has started on the first day of Advent, the Sunday nearest to St. Andrew's Day (30 November).

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