The Oldest, Most Celebrated Holiday…

throughout the world is New Years Day.  But it doesn’t always fall on January 1. 

Ancient  Romans held Kalends (the beginning of their year) on March 25   with some Christmas-like customs  like decorating houses and churches with greenery and gift giving.  The Scots didn’t  make Christmas official until 1958. They kept New Years instead.

Some countries have interesting, colorful customs for New Years:

In Columbia, you might put on yellow underwear.

In Germany, you might go to a party with a live  pig.

In Ghana, you may go to a parade with gourd shakers that take a year to prepare.

In Brazil, go to the beach at midnight. Light candles to honor the sea goddess and  send them out on tiny boats. If they make it out to sea, your wishes are granted.

In the Phillipines, round things are lucky. Wear polka dots or eat  twelve grapes at midnight.

You can read all about these and more in Happy New Year Everywhere:


Chinese New Year, based on the lunar year,  falls between the middle of January and the middle of January. On February 11, we will celebrate The Year of the Rabbit. The Year of the Dog and The Year of  the Rat, two really cool books by Grace Lin, start with Pacyand her family,celebrating Chinese New Year. They’re full of  this Chinese-American girls’  friendships, tribulations, and dreams:







Of course,  in the United States, you can watch the ball drop in Times Square and make resolutions. In Pittsburgh, as well as many other cities,  you can go to a First Night:


 However and whenever you celebrate, I hope you have  a happy night and a terrific year. Let us know how you celebrated in the COMMENTS section, if you wish, especially if you come from another country or are celebrating in one.


About Tina Zubak

I've been a librarian at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh for about 12 years, first at the Beechview branch and now at Children's. I've written some books myself, but alas, no publications. Among my favorite books are BFG, Houndsley and Catrina and the Quiet Time, Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Nation and Rose Daughter.
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