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New Year celebrations

On the night of 31 December and the morning of 1 January, people in many countries all over the world will celebrate the beginning of a new year. How will they celebrate and how did this tradition begin?

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'For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.' – TS Eliot

New year, old celebrations

There have been celebrations to mark the beginning of a new year for thousands of years. Sometimes these were simply an opportunity for people to eat, drink and have fun, but in some places the festivities were connected to the land or astronomical events. For example, in Egypt the beginning of the year coincided with when the River Nile flooded, and this normally happened when the star Sirius rose. The Persians and Phoenicians started their new year at the spring equinox (this is around 20 March when the Sun shines more or less directly on the equator and the length of the night and the day are almost the same).

The oldest celebration

The city of Babylon in ancient Mesopotamia was where the first New Year's celebrations were recorded about 4,000 years ago. The Babylonians held their celebrations on the first new moon after the spring equinox and called this festival Akitu (which comes from the word the Sumerians used for barley). Barley was cut in Mesopotamia in the spring, and during Akitu there was a different ritual on each of the 11 days that the celebration lasted. Statues of the gods were carried through the streets of the city, and in this way the Babylonians believed that their world had been cleaned to prepare for the new year and a new spring.

Modern celebrations

In many cities all over the world, spectacular fireworks displays take place as soon as the clock passes midnight on 31 December. In recent years, Sydney in Australia has been the host to one of the first of these celebrations as New Year arrives there before most other major international cities. The display takes place in Sydney Harbour, with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge making it a stunning setting. Fireworks light up the skies in hundreds of cities as 12 midnight strikes around the globe.

Traditions that live on

There are a number of strange and interesting New Year's traditions around the world. In Scotland, New Year's Eve is called Hogmanay and 'first footing' remains a popular custom with people visiting friends' and neighbours' houses just after midnight. The first person who visits your house should bring a gift as this will mean good luck. In Spain, it is the custom to eat 12 grapes as the bells sound for midnight on 31 December. One grape is eaten at each sound of the bell and each grape is supposed to bring good luck for each month of the year ahead. In Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela and some other Central and South American countries, people wear special underwear of different colours on New Year's Eve. Red is supposed to be good for bringing love in the new year, while yellow is supposed to bring money.

Out with the old, in with the new

The new year is a perfect time to make a change for the better. The tradition of making New Year's resolutions is more common in the western hemisphere but also exists in the eastern hemisphere. This tradition involves a person making a commitment to change an unwanted habit or behaviour or setting a personal objective. Typical New Year's resolutions might be to give up smoking, eat healthier food, do more exercise, become more organised or laugh more – but really, a New Year's resolution can be almost anything. However, research suggests that many New Year's resolutions fail. Being realistic about the objectives you set and not making too many New Year's resolutions might help you to achieve success.

Discussion

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Language level

Upper intermediate: B2

Comments

With family, we gather in one house and listen to music. talk and laugh, share a feast and past warm time together, and before the year ends we make a prayer giving thanks for the old year and for the new. later we give us a hug and a new year celebration.

This year, as I have to work part-time job in Japan, I was at work when the new year arrived. There were no other enjoyable events because of the Corona Virus Pandemic. After my work, I climbed to the top of a hill in order to see the first rising sun of a year. I felt excited to see it from the top of a hill. It is breathtaking view.

Hello. I live in Turkey. If we decide to have it at home, we have been preparing amazing tables on 31th Decembers. Fine foods and drinks -particularly alcohol-. We sing songs, we dance. Also we have lottary for new year. We wait for results with excitement. On tv, there are lots of nice programmes take place on that night such as conserts, shows etc. We watch them. When midnight 00:00 comes, we start counting backward from 10 to 0 and we yell "happy new year" and we wish our wishes, give our gifts each other and celebrate. Happy new year all.

It was not usually strange the celebration of New Year for me.l sent many wishes to my friends in 31 December last year.In this year, l want to be some resolutions for the new year.I will try to carry out good deeds and think good thoughts as much as I can.I will try to be proficient in English.I will do work out regularly to be healthy and active.I will try to smile boardly and laugh heartily.

I celebrate New year by eating, drinking, having fun and making change for the better.

Hi fireworks is not really great fot the enviroment so STOP IT please i beg you

my name's geoff

Korea:i hang out with my members BLACKPINK and sing in concerts and be a secret santa and get them what they want and it is really fun sometimes we are with blinks and its the best we sing jennie cooks and lisa the funny one plays around with jisoo and i rose am helping jennie with cooking! Its funn

During the New year's Eve i use to hang out with friends at one's home. There we dance, drink and eat generally chicken. At midnight we share best wishes each other. But the problem with the young people is that everyone should come with a girl friend that night, and he who doesn't have a G F will not dare to show up to avoid the other's laughing.

on january 1st I go to temple.

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