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Thursday, 01 January 2015 00:00

Happy New Year!

Written by  Katie Hultgren

Happy 2015! It’s a new year, which always brings what feels to me like a fresh start. The calendar is wide-open and full of promise. Last year and all of its challenges are behind us.

While we sip champagne, sing Auld Lang Syne (they’re sure to be singing it in Scotland too!) and watch the ball drop in Times Square, there are many other New Year celebrations taking place across the world - and some are quite fascinating.
The most important Chinese holiday is the Chinese New Year, which is known in China as the Spring Festival (February 19, 2015). The festival marks the lunar New Year and is the equivalent of our Christmas and New Year’s Eve rolled into one. According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2015 is the Year of the Sheep. People will celebrate by enjoying a large meal and then pass red envelopes containing cash for luck, and of course, lots of fireworks.
The Ethiopian calendar is the principal calendar used in Ethiopia. A gap between the Ethiopian and Gregorian calendars results from an alternate calculation in determining the date of the Annunciation of Jesus. The current year according to the Ethiopian calendar is 2007, which began on September 11, 2014. It is traditional to give a bouquet of flowers as a gift on Enkutatash, Ethiopia’s New Years Day.
In Colombia, at the stroke of midnight, people begin to eat and make a wish on a total of 12 grapes, one to be consumed with each strike of the clock, and finished by 12:01. Another tradition is to grab a suitcase and run around the block to increase your chances to travel in the New Year. Spain also has the tradition with the grapes, and Argentinians run with their suitcases too.
Christmas in the Philippines lasts for about 4 months. As soon as a month ending with “ber” rolls around, preparations for Christmas begin. Filipinos make lots of noise on New Year’s Eve - with fireworks, pots and pans, empty cans are dragged around behind cars and whistles are blown.
Lots of traditions have to do with doors - leaving them open so luck can rush in, or bad spirits will rush out. In Greece, you hang an onion on your door. Its ability to sprout new life is a symbol of rebirth and growth. In Denmark, it is customary to smash dishes on the doorsteps of friends and neighbors to bring them luck in the New Year.
I hope that no matter how you celebrated, this year will bring you luck and prosperity. We thank you for being a part of the JAX FAX tradition.

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