Songkran (Wiki images)
List 04 January

How to keep celebrating the New Year throughout 2013

Your month-by-month guide to the various New Year celebrations around the world

Still buzzing from seeing in the Gregorian New Year? Thankfully, it's not the only New Year celebration being held in 2013. Here's your guide to the best of the rest.


14 January: Orthodox New Year

Also known as the 'Old New Year’, it marks the first day of the year in the Julian calendar, still followed by Eastern orthodox churches in Georgia, Jerusalem, Russia, Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine.


10 February: Chinese New Year

Also known as the Lunar New Year, it occurs every year on the new moon on the first lunar month, usually between 21 January and 21 February. In 2013 it falls on 10 February and marks the beginning of the Year of the Snake.

10 February: Tet Nguyên Đán (Vietnamese New Year)

Also based on the Chinese lunar calendar, the Vietnamese celebrate Tet by visiting friends' homes, indulging in a little ancestor worship and giving red envelopes to children and the elderly.

10 February: Seollal  (Korean New Year)

Another celebration based on the lunar calendar, Seollal sees lion dances, fireworks, family gatherings and the ubiquitous giving of red envelopes.

11 February: Losar (Tibetan New Year)

The Tibetans got their calendar from the Chinese via the Uyyhurs, so their New Year is celebrated near or on the same day as the Chinese New Year. The Tibetans are a little more hardcore though, celebrating Losar for 15 days, starting with a day of drinking large quantities of chhaang (Tibetan beer).


12 March: Aztec New Year

Not as blood-thirsty as it used to be, this holiday is observed in some Nahua communities in Mexico where they light ocote (pitch-pine) candles, let off fireworks and bang drums.

12 March: Nyepi (Balinese New Year)

Also known as ‘Day of Silence’, it may be an idea to give this one a miss. Bali shuts down for the day as the locals use it as an opportunity to stay quite, fast and meditate.

14 March: Sikh New Year

For those who follow the Sikh Nanakshahi calendar. It replaced the Saka calendar in 1998 and is accepted in about 90% of the gurdwaras throughout the world.

21 March: Nowruz (Iranian New Year)

Celebrated on the day containing the exact moment of the Northward equinox, it is believed this celebration was founded by Zoroaster himself. Hence it is celebrated not only in Iran, but by the Parsis in India and by Zoroastrians and Persians across the world.

22 March: Nauryz

The Iranian tradition was also passed on to Central Asian countries, including Kazakhs, Uzbeks and Uighurs, but is generally celebrated a day later.


April 13: Pi Mai (Laos New Year)

Prepare to get soaked. Laotians see in the New Year by throwing water at each other.

Another popular event is the annual beauty pageant in Luang Prabang to crown Miss Pbeemai Lao (Miss Lao New Year), judged last year by Wanderlust’s own Lyn Hughes.

April 13-15: Chaul Chnam Thmey (Cambodian New Year)

More water-based tom-foolery, this time in Cambodia.

April 13-15: Songkran (Thai New Year)

Songkranwas traditionally a time to visit and pay respects to elders, including family members, friends, neighbours, and monks. Now the Thais simply throw water at the said family members, friends, neighbours, and monks… and you.

April 14: Puthandu  (Tamil New Year)

As well as the usual feasting and family visits, Tamils also mark the New Year with the first financial transaction of the year known as the 'Kai-vishesham' where elders gift money to the unmarried young, particularly children, as a token of good luck.

April 14: Bisket Jatra (Nepali New Year)

Head to Bhaktapur, where the New Year is celebrated by parading images of gods in chariots. The main attraction of the festival is the erection of a ceremonial pole – a lingam or phallic symbol.

April 15: Pôhela Boishakh (Bengali New Year)

Fairs are held throughout Bangladesh, selling agricultural products, traditional handicrafts, toys, cosmetics, as well as various kinds of food and sweets. The fairs also provide entertainment, with singers and dancers staging jatra (traditional plays).

April 17: Burmese New Year

Marks the end of Thingyan, celebrated from 13-16 April, where the Burmese also throw water over each other.


June 21: Kutchi New Year

Celebrated in the Kutch region of Gujarat, the Kutchi New Year is mostly a traditional affair and is observed in homes. You may also come across the odd satsang, musical competition or other cultural programme.


5-6 September: Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is a two day celebration that commemorates the creation of the world. It is also a judgement day, when Jews believe that God balances a person's good deeds over the last year against their bad deeds, and decides what the next year will be like for them.

11 September: Neyrouz (Coptic New Year)

The Feast of Neyrouz marks the first day of the Coptic year and commemorates martyrs and confessors of the religion.

11 September: Enkutatash

Ethiopian Orthodox New Year. Falls on the same date as Neyrouz.


3-4 November: Hijri (Islamic New Year)

Not as festive as other Muslim holidays such as the Eidl’ Fitr and Eidl’Adha. Instead, celebrations are simple and sober, marked by activities such as greetings of peace, prayers and reflection.

4 November: Gujarati New Year 

Gujarati New Year is celebrated the day after the festival of Diwali and is the time to close old account books and to open new account books. During the celebrations, new account books are marked with auspicious symbols to make the financial year profitable.

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