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Happy New Year!
Last night, when the clock struck midnight, 2013 was officially a thing of the past, filed away as another year in history.
Whether it was a good or bad year means little today, as 2014 brings hope of a better future.
However, did you know that not everyone believes today is as big a transition as we do here in the U.S.? That's because, for many cultures around the world, New Year's Day happens at different times of the year.
Here's a brief lesson in when certain cultures turn their calendars:
*Before looking at the present, it would be helpful to review the past. Ancient Greeks celebrated their new year with the new moon right after June 21, which is when we mark the beginning of summer. The Roman new year began on March 1, before the rise of Julius Caesar, and in Europe, during the Middle Ages, the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25 was their day to celebrate a new year.
*In Indonesia, the nation celebrates two dates – the first being the standard January 1 and the second falling on the Islamic New Year, whose date changes year to year.
*In Thailand, much of the population celebrates Songkran, which is the Buddhist celebration of the new year. This is held from April 13 through 15 and it includes large parades featuring huge statues of Buddha. It is also traditional that people release fish into rivers as an act of Kindness.
*The Russian Orthodox Church goes by the Julian calendar to determine the new year, placing it on January 14.
*In Vietnam, the new year begins in February.
*India presents the biggest challenge when trying to keep new year's celebrations straight. Each religious group recognizes its own date. For instance, one Hindu sect celebrates Baisakhi in April or May.
*In both North and South Korea, the people celebrate the beginning of the new year just like we do here in America, except they keep it going a bit longer. Instead of just recognizing January 1, they celebrate for three days straight.
However you choose to celebrate, we here at The Cheshire Herald would like to wish you and yours a safe, healthy, happy, and prosperous 2014.