How to celebrate the new year in 3 different cultures

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New York City

New Years, as we know it in the U.S., lands on December 31st through January 1st and is a time to celebrate the start of a new year and a clean slate, develop yearly goals (that most of us forget about a week later…i.e. “go to the gym”), set off fireworks and just spend time with family and friends. Our celebrations range from people traveling to New York City to see the New Year’s Eve Ball drop in Times Square, a once in a lifetime experience, to throwing festive parties with new year’s hats and confetti and fireworks, while some have a relaxing night watching the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve special with a few friends. No matter the celebration, however, almost everyone has a couple of things in common: watching the ball drop, eating black eyed peas for good luck and hoping for a year full of happiness, success and luck.

In France, New Years celebrations are held from New Year’s Eve until January 6th and are referred to as ‘Reveillion’ with New Year’s Eve being called la Saint-Sylvestre. During the celebrations, people hang out with their friends and families, bid a pleasant farewell to the past year and welcome in the new one, with high hopes for success, prosperity and happiness. On New Year’s Eve, a ceremony is organized that includes a festive cake (la galette des rois), a feast with typical dishes such as pancakes and flavored duck or goose (foie gras) and champagne. The feast is said to bring prosperity and good luck. In some parts of France there is an evening celebration that consists of dances and parties.

Between mid-January and mid-February every year, the Chinese New Years celebration occurs; this coming year it will be from February 19th to March 5th, 2015. The holiday starts its celebrations with red decorations (red lanterns, red paper

New Years in China

New Years in China

cut outs, red couplets, etc.), fireworks, firecrackers, dragon dances and red envelopes with money in them for the children to keep evil away and keep them healthy. On the second day, married women usually visit their parents, then, on the third through seventh days, people visit with family and friends. On the final day there is a lantern festival to wrap up the festivities. Throughout the celebration period, fish is eaten with hopes of prosperity and a surplus of money and luck, because it is said that the Chinese word for fish sounds like the Chinese word for surplus. Another traditional Chinese New Year food is Chinese dumplings because it is said to look like a silver ingot (ancient Chinese money).

Still want to learn more and about other New Year’s celebrations around the world? Check them out here!

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