As new years come and go, you’re probably familiar with the multiple, different new-year celebrations around the world. Many of them aren’t observed on January 1st, when the Gregorian calendar rolls over. So how many different new years are there?
January 1st is probably the most ubiquitous “new year,” as it marks the rollover of the Gregorian calendar and the beginning of the next civil year.
The Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year begins anywhere between January 21st and February 21st if you’re looking at a Gregorian calendar. On the lunar calendar, this marks the beginning of spring. Chinese New Year always falls on the new moon of the first lunar month, which is why there’s some flex when you try to transpose it to the Gregorian calendar.
Further Reading: What Is Chinese New Year?
The Lunar New Year is prominently observed throughout East Asia and Southeast Asia. Both the Islamic and Jewish calendars observe a lunar new year as well, though neither new year falls in February.. These observances, obviously, go by different names. In Korea it’s called Seollal, and in Vietnam it’s named Tết Nguyên Đán (which typically lines up almost exactly with then Chinese New Year is observed). The Tibetan New Year, Losar, typically falls between January and March of the Gregorian calendar.
Nowruz, the Iranian New Year is observed, typically, either on March 20th or 21st and marks the beginning of spring. It falls on the March equinox, also known as the Northward equinox. Nowruz has also been passed through to some Central Asian countries like Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan; though it is known as Nauryz.
The Balinese New Year (Nyepi) is based on the Saka Calendar, falling on Bali’s New Year; a Lunar New Year taking place in the Gregorian March. The Balinese New Year is observed for 24 hours, starting at 6 AM and going until 6 AM the following morning.
The Telugu and Kannada New Years (Ugadi) is observed by peoples in southern India, falling in between March and April. It also coincides with the Sindhi festivals that mark the Sindhi New Year.
The spring season typically begins around April in South and Southeast Asian countries on the solar calendar, and many new years observations fall between April 13th and April 15th. New Years are observed in Nepal, and Bangladesh; as well as regionally in India and Sri Lanka. Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia also have some New Years observances in April.
June is home to some regional New Year observations. The Kutchi people, a population in the Kutch district in western India, observe Ashadi Beej as their new year on the second week of Ashadha; the fourth month on India’s national civil calendar.
The Islamic calendar cycles at the beginning of the Muharram, which typically falls in the Gregorian July. It marks the beginning of the lunar Hijri year.
On the Zulu calendar, the new year cycles on uMandulo, a month corresponding with the Gregorian September. It marks the beginning of the farming season.
The Jewish calendar begins its new year around September-October, observed as Rosh Hashanah. It lasts for two days and marks the beginning of the Jewish civil year and is considered the anniversary of Adam and Eve’s creation in the Hebrew Bible.
Further Reading: What Is Rosh Hashanah?
See if you know the order in which these New Year’s photos were taken here.