Chinese New Year falls on Saturday, January 28th this year. In honour of all our Chinese students, colleagues and friends, all of us at Voice to Word wish you all a very happy and prosperous year. I am re-posting this article about New Year Traditions around the world and hope you enjoy it!


Happy belated New Year! Or is it belated?

For many of us, January 1st is the first day of the year – a new beginning, a time to make resolutions (which we often don’t complete,) a reason to party… But the western New Year’s Day is not celebrated everywhere and has not been around as long as many of us imagine. Plus, the feeling of beginning a new year is not always strongest on January 1st, even for people in the west.

Catholic tradition states that Jesus was circumcised and named on January 1st according to the old Roman calendar, known as the Julian calendar. Due to inaccuracies which accumulated over time, the Roman Catholic Church revised the old Julian calendar in the 16th century. This new Gregorian calendar – also known as the Western or Christian calendar – was gradually adopted by many countries in Europe and, over time, slowly become the predominant official civil calendar throughout the world.

Despite this, many countries continued and still continue to celebrate their traditional New Year at other times of the year.

MID-JANUARY – In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the civil New Year falls on January 14th – or January 1st in the Julian calendar. The Orthodox churches of Georgia, Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine still use the Julian calendar.

MID-WINTER – Chinese New Year, celebrated in many east Asian countries, occurs on the new moon from 4 to 8 weeks before spring, falling any time between January 21st and February 21st.

SPRING – In other countries, New Year’s dates often coincide with the beginning of spring – for example, Iran, Bali and certain areas of India. Interestingly, until the mid 18th century, all British domains celebrated their New Year on March 25th.

AUTUMN – New Year in the Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches falls on September 11th or 12th. Jewish New Year, celebrating God’s creation of the world in seven days, falls somewhere between early September and early October.

As a Canadian with an English background, I was brought up to celebrate only the January 1st New Year. But unofficially, along with many other North Americans, I feel the newest beginning is at another time of year. We grow up, ending school in June, playing all summer and heading back to school in the fall. For me, September represents a new beginning, a fresh start on life. So fall is my unofficial New Year.

Lucky us! As a multicultural country, we can celebrate New Year at almost any time! So Happy New Year!


Adapted from Wikipedia