New Year celebrations

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?

Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises.


'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.

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Submitted by MARIALAUDELINA on Tue, 23/01/2024 - 16:48


Hi, there!
I am Cuban, though I Iive in Mexico since the 2000.
In Cuba, people use to roast a whole pork in a stick that goes from the pork´s snout to its tail. They start preparing the pork and the fire early in the morning, so that it is ready for the midnight.
They also cook white rice and black beans, and prepare tomato and lettuce salad.
Of course, a good bottle of Aguardiente (Cuban rum) cannot be missed, or some drinks, especially the traditional Cuban Mojito.
Besides, they fried green banana, known as “tostones”.
The whole family meets, grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and all relatives.
They dance Cuban salsa and sing.
At midnight, they hold each other wishing the best for the New Year.

Best regards,
María Laudelina.

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Submitted by Muhammadhamzaijaz on Fri, 12/01/2024 - 04:50


Hi, This year, we did not have new year celebrations in our country due to the prevailing war in Palestine. This was to show solidarity with Palestinians. On the individual level, I went out in a cold chill night to have a dinner with my family. The traffic was blocked on popular points of people gathering. It was a night to be remembered always. In addition, I also made a new year resolution to achieve my goals at a faster pace so I could compensate the time I wasted in my life. Thanks

Submitted by Alberto Paulin on Thu, 04/01/2024 - 02:11


When there is opportunity, I used to spend New Year's Eve along with my aunts and cousins. They used to prepare a great variety of dishes, which are extremely delicious, but there is so many food that is probably to get some stomach ache. I like these celebration as it is a moment to appreciate the present and get prepared for a new beginning.

Submitted by uttambro on Fri, 03/02/2023 - 07:51


How do you celebrate the new year?
For me, it's like a normal day.I don't do anything extra than other days.
As you mentioned, the people usually make resolutions on this occasion but mostly get failed in making that happen, i also used to do the same thing till two years back.
What i have concluded as a human from human life is that it becomes better with an increase in the cruelty on other species.
These words are coming here from own experience so, don't get offended after going through this if yours don't match with these.
Signing off on behalf of myself:)

Submitted by xuanminhphan on Mon, 26/12/2022 - 20:03


A few days before new year's eve, my family and I go to buy fireworks to make the celebrations more remarkable. My family has numerous members, we gather to eat, sing, play, and enjoy the fireworks. and the coincidence that day is also my birthday, so it's an unforgettable day.

Submitted by jyoti Chaudhary on Tue, 03/05/2022 - 13:46


How do you celebrate the new year?
I celebrate NewYear with my family. generally, we eat and dance together for the whole night we decided about new planning for this year. I always do differently taking my decision.

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Submitted by musashow17 on Thu, 20/01/2022 - 12:11


Me and lots of people in my country celebrate new year by spending time with loved ones. By doing so we improve our friendship and family connects. At new year celebrations like everybody classically we wish health happiness peace and of course money. We play games, drinking and eating. Also at some celebrations if the hotels aren't full or not too expensive we would be on holiday during new year. By the way happy new year to everybody

Submitted by Stela Stoycheva on Thu, 13/01/2022 - 12:27


We celebrate by eating, drinking, big company often, but this year we been with my husband and our baby. Looking fireworks outside in the garden. We pray for health and better New Year

Submitted by delgado1984 on Mon, 10/01/2022 - 22:09


As the new year has come, I have made some commitments too. I do not know if I will be able to accomplish them, but I think it is important to desire changes in our life. They could be big changes, utopian changes, doesn't matter. We shouldn't refrain from the desire of having new happy times in our existences.

Submitted by dqminh2810 on Sat, 01/01/2022 - 20:43


My new year eve is not special like usual. The last two years was tough, so there are nothing to celebrate about. However, I am still hoping that gonna be better this year with the new opportunities come along but also the challenges. No matter what, I will try the best to get things done nicely and wish for a brighter future. My new year resolution is quite simple which is do more exercises and spending more time for the most important things. Be cool and happy new year all!