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Most people around the world celebrate New Year on January 1st as adopted by the Roman Catholic Church based on the Gregorian Calendar. The beginning of the coming year is celebrated with enthusiasm, festivities, and resolutions.
See the fact file below for more interesting New Year facts or alternatively you can download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
- Around 2000 B.C., Mesopotamians were known to first celebrate New Year. In 46 B.C., Julius Caesar accepted January 1st as the date for New Year.
- In 1752, England and its American colonies officially adopted January 1st as New Year. Some cultures, like the Romans, initially celebrated New Year every March 1st, while some went for the winter solstice or summer equinox.
- Ancient Persians used to gift eggs symbolizing productivity. Persian New Year is called Norouz (Nowruz) and sometimes Baha’i New Year. It marks the beginning of spring and was partly rooted from Zoroastrian belief. In modern Iran, the celebration lasts for 13 days, starting with Tahvil that coincides with the vernal equinox.
- In ancient Egypt, New Year was celebrated after the flooding of the Nile River. Egyptians were guided by the visibility of the brightest star Sirius. This phenomenon is also known as the heliacal rising that usually occurs mid-July. They celebrated the festival of Wepet Renpet, which means opening of the year. Religious rituals were practiced to celebrate rebirth, rejuvenation, and fertility of the farmlands near the Nile River.
- Over 3,000 years ago, during the reign of the Shang Dynasty, New Year was celebrated by the Chinese to mark the beginning of the spring planting season. According to legends, Nian, the mythical monster, preyed on villagers during this time of the year.
- In order to frighten the monster, villagers started to decorate their homes with red paper trimmings and lights. During the 10th century, the 15-day festivities were celebrated with fireworks to eliminate bad spirits. Chinese New Year usually falls from late-January to early-February on the second new moon.
New Year’s Traditions:
- In Finland, the tradition of molybdomancy is practiced to foresee people’s fortune for the next year. A small amount of lead is melted and soaked in cold water. When the liquid metal solidifies, the person’s fortune will be analyzed.
- In Denmark, people throw dishes on neighbors doorsteps to bring new friends.
- In 1895, Spanish people started the tradition of eating 12 grapes on New Year’s Eve to bring good luck for the coming year.
- In Japanese Buddhist Temples, bells are rung 108 times to welcome the coming of Toshigami, the god of New Year. Like the Chinese, they eat long noodles for long life.
- Greeks usually hang onions on doorsteps for their children’s goodwill.
- In Belgium, Sint Sylvester Vooravond is celebrated with champagne toasting while children write letters to their parents and godparents.
- In Ireland, Germany, Italy, and parts of southern U.S., legumes and leafy greens are a standard dish during New Year, signifying financial fortune.
- Ring-shaped pastries and cakes are consumed in Greece, Mexico, and the Netherlands during New Year, while in America, millions of glasses of sparkling wine accompany the celebration.
- In 1796, Scottish poet Robert Burns published the Scots Musical Museum containing the song “Auld Lang Syne”, a traditional New Year’s song for English speakers.
- New Year’s resolutions are set, wishing to eliminate bad habits and develop good practices in the coming year.
- In the United States, the most popular New Year’s tradition is the dropping of the New Year Ball in New York City’s Times Square. The ball goes down from the building for about one minute and it strikes the ground at exactly 12 midnight.
- In 1890, the Rose Parade was held in California’s Pasadena. The Rose Bowl features 18 million flowers designed in floats.
- Every New Year, the Sydney Harbor in Australia is filled with fireworks and spectators.
- In the Philippines, New Year’s Eve is celebrated with 12 dishes comprising the Media Noche or midnight feast. Filipinos traditionally wear clothes in polka dots design symbolizing prosperity. Children will jump many times at exactly 12 midnight, believing that they will grow taller.
New Year Worksheets
This bundle includes 11 ready-to-use Hanukkah worksheets that are perfect for students to learn about the celebrations of New Year on January 1st as adopted by the Roman Catholic Church based on the Gregorian Calendar. The beginning of the coming year is celebrated with enthusiasm, festivities, and resolutions.
This download includes the following worksheets:
- New Year Facts
- New Year’s Info by Numbers
- Unique Traditions
- Mapping New Year
- New Year Ball Drop
- Ancient Celebrations
- Media Noche
- Symbols and Meanings
- New Year Around the World
- Let’s Sing!
- My Resolution
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Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.