Cultures That Don't Celebrate New Year's Day On January 1

By | December 27, 2020

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Performers take part in the traditional dragon-and-drums Chinese new year parade. (Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images)

As midnight approaches on December 31, the eyes of most of the world are on the clock, counting down the final moments of the year. Not all countries celebrates the new year on January 1, however.

Chinese New Year

The Chinese calendar is based on the lunar year, not the solar year of the Western world's Gregorian calendar, and Chinese New Year falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice. That means the the date changes from year to year, but the celebration, which typically occurs in February, is so full of delicious food and beautiful sights like bright lanterns and colorful dancing dragons that non-Chinese cultures around the world have gotten in on the fun in recent years.

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(Chanticleer Garden/Wikimedia Commons)


The African nations of Ethiopia and Eritrea celebrate the new year on September 11 of our calendar, which is known to them as Meskerem. It corresponds with the end of the rainy season, which is always a cause for celebration, as well as the date the Queen of Sheba returned to Ethiopia after her travels to Jerusalem to meet with King Solomon in 980 B.C.E, so there's plenty of reason to party down. The day is typically celebrated with a morning at church followed by a big meal and an afternoon picking and exchanging daisies, which bloom in September in the region.