No, I’m not 23 days late.
Today is Chinese New Year – celebrated by about 1 in 7 people worldwide.
So while 2012 began 23 days ago, it’s wasn’t the new year for everyone.
Although the Gregorian calendar is used and recognized by people, businesses and schools around the world, and New Year’s Eve parties are popular in many parts of the world, the start of the Gregorian calendar year holds less significance than other years’ beginnings for many people.
January 1st is not the only marker for a new year. And for some the change is more than another number and a new calendar – it’s culturally or religiously significant.
Here are three examples:
Chinese New Year
This Gregorian year, Chinese New Year falls on today’s date – January. 23. The Chinese calendar predates the Gregorian calendar. The Chinese Zodiac consists of 12 animals and each year is the year of a particular animal in the zodiac order. This coming year is the year of the Dragon. Chinese New Year is celebrated on the second new moon after the winter solstice, therefore the date on the Gregorian calendar that corresponds with the Chinese New Year shifts yearly. The year of the dragon will be year 4709 according to the Chinese calendar.
Rosh Hoshanah: Jewish New Year
Rosh Hoshanah (Head of the Year) is celebrated on the first two days of the month of Tishrei – the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. It celebrates the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve. Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of 10 days of repentance which culminate in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). The date on the Gregorian calendar that corresponds with Rosh Hoshanah shifts yearly. This year it will begin on the evening of September 16 to the evening of September 18.
Islamic New Year
The first day of Muharram – the first month in the Islamic calendar – marks the Islamic New Year. The date on the Gregorian calendar that corresponds with the Islamic New Year shifts yearly since the Islamic calendar is 11 to 12 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar. This year it will fall on November 15.
Happy New Year!
copyright 2012 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker and facilitator on issues of diversity & inclusion