New Year’s Day is one of the most celebrated holidays in the world, because most of the Gregorian calendar users observe it. Although the holiday’s date is 1 January, celebrating always begins one day earlier – on the last day of the previous year. People celebrate the beginning of the new year at parties or on the streets, so New Year’s Day is a great time for spending a quiet day with family and friends.
Due to the United Kingdom’s cultural diversity, not all of the citizens celebrate New Year on 1 January. In various calendars other than the Gregorian one, such as Chinese, Jewish or Islamic, the new year starts another day – even as late as 15 April.
In the United Kingdom there are some interesting New Year traditions that are not observed in other countries. For example, in London at 12 noon on 1st January a London’s New Year’s Day Parade is held. Nearly 10,000 participants take part in it nowadays, and almost 300,000,000 watch it on TV. What is even more important, the parade’s main goal was and still is fundraising for local charities.
Another New Year tradition worth noting comes from Scotland, where an annual Loony Dook festival takes place on 1 January. At first, the so-called Dookers’ Fancy Dress Parade is held, and finally costume-wearing people dive into the freezing waters of the Firth of Forth. The Scots also believe that the first person entering their house in the New Year – most appropriately a tall, dark-haired man – bringing small gifts, such as a piece of coal or a coin, is supposed to bring luck and prosperity to the family in the new year. The tradition is called the “First-Footing”.
However, one New Year’s Day tradition is common for most people in the world – making New Year’s resolutions. The beginning of the new year is commonly believed to be the best time for major changes in lifestyle, such as eating healthier or losing weight.
Did you know?
The idea of celebrating new year roots back to 2000 BC. Mesopotamia, which is now the territory of Iraq, used to celebrate the new year around the time of the vernal equinox. The date of the holiday varied through the centuries. In the Roman calendar, for example, March 1 was observed as New Year’s Day, for March was the first month of the 10-month calendar. Other popular dates for celebrating the new year were 25 December or 25 March.
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