New Year Celebrations Around the World

Looking for a way to beat the winter blahs? Sweep away the cobwebs (literally!) and join in with celebrations for the traditional Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, on January 31st this year!

A colorful, festive extravaganza, this holiday is celebrated with the cleaning out of the old to make way for the new, money given in auspiciously-colored red envelopes, and a dynamic spectacular that most everyone will recognize: the lion dance.

The children you know will love learning about the fun associated with this holiday through bilingual books like Li’s Chinese New Year.  They may also want to know if other cultures celebrate different new year dates too! Talk to them about the Thai Songkran, or Water Festival, in which the feet of the elderly are cleaned by the young and everyone gathers in the streets for a big community water fight.

You could additionally discuss the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah.  It will be observed in late September 2014 and follows a period of repentance after which Jewish people can start with a clean slate, celebrating with the sound of the shofar (a traditional horn) and eating foods like honey-dipped apples to ensure a “sweet” new year.

There’s a growing Ethiopian population in America, yet many people may not know about Enkutatash, the Ethopian new year.  Observed on the 11th of September, or 12th in a leap year, it’s a more understated affair during which families eat together and exchange cards and bouquets of daisies.

Language Lizard would love to know, how do YOU celebrate new years with your children and students?

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