Long Ago Festivals
In ancient Egypt, New Year was celebrated at the time the
River Nile flooded, which was near the end of September. The flooding of
the Nile was very important because without it, the people would not
have been able to grow crops in the dry desert.
At New Year, statues of the god, Amon and his wife and son were taken
up the Nile by boat. Singing, dancing, and feasting was done for a
month, and then the statues were taken back to the temple.
Babylonia lay in what is now the country of Iraq. Their New
Year was in the Spring. During the festival, the king was stripped of
his clothes and sent away, and for a few days everyone could do just
what they liked. Then the king returned in a grand procession, dressed
in fine robes. Then, everyone had to return to work and behave properly.
Thus, each New Year, the people made a new start to their
For a long time the Romans celebrated New Year on the first
of March. Then, in 46 BC, the Emperor Julius Caesar began a new
calendar. It was the calendar that we still use today, and thus the New
Year date was changed to the first day of January.
January is named after the Roman god Janus, who was always shown as
having two heads. He looked back to the last year and forward to the new
The Roman New Year festival was called the Calends, and people
decorated their homes and gave each other gifts. Slaves and their
masters ate and drank together, and people could do what they wanted to
for a few days.
The Celts were the people who lived in Gaul, now called
France, and parts of Britain before the Romans arrived there. Their New
Year festival was called Samhain. It took place at the end of
October, and Samhain means 'summer's end'.
At Samhain, the Celts gathered mistletoe to keep ghosts away,
because they believed this was the time when the ghosts of the dead
returned to haunt the living.
Jewish New Year
The Jewish New Year is called Rosh Hashanah. It is a
holy time when people think of the things they have done wrong in the
past, and they promise to do better in the future.
Special services are held in synagogues, and an instrument called a
Shofar, which is made from a ram's horn is played. Children are
given new clothes, and New Year loaves are baked and fruit is eaten to
remind people of harvest time.
Muslim New Year
The Muslim calendar is based on the movements of the moon,
so the date of New Year is eleven days earlier each year.
Iran is a Muslim country which used to be called Persia. The people
celebrate New Year on March 21, and a few weeks before this date, people
put grains of wheat or barley in a little dish to grow. By the time of
New Year, the grains have produced shoots, and this reminds the people
of spring and a new year of life.
Hindu New Year
Most Hindus live in India, but they don't all celebrate New
Year in the same way or at the same time.
The people of West Bengal, in northern India, like to wear flowers at
New Year, and they use flowers in the colors of pink, red, purple, or
white. Women like to wear yellow, which is the color of Spring.
In Kerala, in southern India, mothers put food, flowers, and little
gifts on a special tray. On New Year's morning, the children have to
keep their eyes closed until they have been led to the tray.
In central India, orange flags are flown from buildings on New Year's
In Gujarat, in western India, New Year is celebrated at the end of
October, and it is celebrated at the same time as the Indian festival of
Diwali. At the time of Diwali, small oil lights are lit
all along the roofs of buildings.
At New Year, Hindus think particularly of the goddess of wealth,
The Far East
In Vietnam, the New Year is called Tet Nguyen Dan or
Tet for short. It begins between January 21 and February 19, and
the exact day changes from year to year. They believe that there is a
god in every home, and at the New Year this god travels to heaven. There
he will say how good or bad each member of the family has been in the
They used to believe that the god traveled on the back of a fish
called a carp, and today, they sometimes buy a live carp, and then let
it go free in a river or pond. They also believe that the first person
to enter their house at New Year will bring either good or bad
In Japan, New Year is celebrated on January 1, but the
Japanese also keep some beliefs from their religion, which is called
Shinto. To keep out evil spirits, they hang a rope of straw across the
front of their houses, and this stands for happiness and good luck.
The moment the New Year begins, the Japanese people begin to laugh,
and this is supposed to bring them good luck in the new
Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year is celebrated some time between January
17 and February 19, at the time of the new moon, and it is called
Yuan Tan. It is celebrated by Chinese people all over the world,
and street processions are an exciting part of their New Year. The
Festival of Lanterns is the street processions, and thousands of
lanterns are used to light the way for the New Year.
The Chinese people believe that there are evil spirits around at New
Year, so they let off firecrackers to frighten the spirits away.
Sometimes they seal their windows and doors with paper to keep the evil
New Year in the West
New Year's Day processions with decorated floats and bands
are a part of New Year, and football is also played all over the United
States on New Year's Day.
In Europe, New Year was often a time for superstition and
fortune-telling, and in some parts of Switzerland and Austria, people
dress up to celebrate Saint Sylvester's Eve.
In AD 314, there was a Pope called Saint Sylvester, and people
believed that he captured a terrible sea monster. It was thought that in
the year 1000, this sea monster would escape and destroy the world, but
since it didn't happen, the people were delighted. Since then, in parts
of Austria and Switzerland, this story is remembered at New Year, and
people dress up in fantastic costumes, and are called
In Greece, New Year's Day is also the Festival of Saint Basil. Saint
Basil was famous for his kindness, and Greek children leave their shoes
by the fire on New Year's Day with the hope that he will come and fill
the shoes with gifts.
In Scotland, New Year is called Hogmanay, and in some villages
barrels of tar are set alight and rolled through the streets. Thus, the
old year is burned up and the new one allowed to enter.
Scottish people believe that the first person to enter your house in
the New Year will bring good or bad luck, and it is very good luck if
the visitor is a dark-haired man bringing a gift. This custom is called
The song, Auld Lang Syne is sung at midnight on New Year's
Eve, and this custom is now celebrated all over the
Information from Celebrations New Year, by Jane
Cooper, © 1989, Wayland Publishers Limited
Auld Lang Syne - 28 KB - Click triangle to play
Celebrating Personal Events of 2001
You and Wiz gave me a webpage to create with. *S*S*S*S*S*S*S*S*S*S*
I have a wonderful friend and teacher.
I have realized a lot of things with my self this year.
I found a New Sister.
I am glad that we did find her. *S*S*S*S*S*S*S*S*S*S*S*S
I made a very important amends for myself this year and forgave a long long long old time hurt and wound. Two of them actually. Very deep ones.
Lots of good stuff this year really. Even though other things happened.
One friend crossed over this year. And another one won the same battle. *S*S*S*S*S*S*
Have met some other wonderful people on my journey also this year.
SO allllllllllllll in allllllllllll, this was a very very good year.
I celebrate: WizPC - Dr. Buchanon, who got me on my feet to work again - Lisbeth not been in Hospital this year - my friends who are still with me 2nd, 3rd, 4th and so on, years :o) - Duchess, our new puppy/dog -
continued growth in important areas (I hope!) - JUST BEING ALIVE TO STILL ENJOY MOTHER EARTH AND ALL MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS, TWO LEGGED AND OTHERWISE.
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