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During the Middle Ages in western Europe, while the Julian calendar was still in use, authorities moved New Year's Day variously, depending upon locale, to one of several other days, among them: 1 March, 25 March, Easter, 1 September, and 25 December. These New Year's Day changes generally reverted to using January 1 before or during the various local adoptions of the Gregorian calendar, beginning in 1582. The change from March 25 – Lady Day, one of the four quarter days – to January 1 took place in Scotland in 1600, before the ascension of James VI of Scotland to the throne of England in 1603 and well before the formation of the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. In England and Wales (and in all British dominions, including Britain's American colonies), 1751 began on March 25 and lasted 282 days, and 1752 began on January 1. For more information about the changeover from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar and the effect on the dating of historical events etc., see Old Style and New Style dates.
A great many other calendars have seen use historically in different parts of the world; some such calendars count years numerically, while others do not. The expansion of Western culture during recent centuries has seen such widespread official adoption of the Gregorian calendar that its recognition and that of January 1 as the New Year has become virtually global. (Note for example the New Year celebrations held in Dubai to mark the start of 2014, which broke the world record for the most fireworks set off in a single display, lasting for six minutes and including the use of over 500,000 fireworks.)
Nevertheless, regional or local use of other calendars persists, along with the cultural and religious practices that accompany them. Many places (such as Israel, China, and India) also celebrate New Year at the times determined by these other calendars. In Latin America the observation of traditions belonging to various native cultures continues according to their own calendars, despite the domination of recently arrived cultures. The most common dates of modern New Year's celebrations are listed below, ordered and grouped by their alignment relative to the Gregorian calendar.
1 January: The first day of the civil year in the Gregorian calendar used by most countries.
Contrary to common belief in the west, the civil New Year of January 1 is not an Orthodox Christian religious holiday. The Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar makes no provision for the observance of a New Year. January 1 is itself a religious holiday, but that is because it is the feast of the circumcision of Christ (8 days after his birth), and a commemoration of saints. While the liturgical calendar begins September 1, there is also no particular religious observance attached to the start of the new cycle. Orthodox nations may, however, make civil celebrations for the New Year. Those that adhere to the revised Julian calendar (which synchronizes dates with the Gregorian calendar), including Bulgaria, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Romania, Syria, and Turkey, observe both the religious and civil holidays on January 1. In other nations and locations where Orthodox churches still adhere to the Julian calendar, including Georgia, Jerusalem, Russia, the Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Ukraine, the civil new year is observed on January 1 of the civil calendar, while those same religious feasts occur on January 14 (which is January 1 Julian), in accord with the liturgical calendar.
East Asian New Year
The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, occurs every year on the new moon of the first lunar month, about the beginning of spring (Lichun). The exact date can fall any time between 21 January and 21 February (inclusive) of the Gregorian Calendar. Traditionally, years were marked by one of twelve Earthly Branches, represented by an animal, and one of ten Heavenly Stems, which correspond to the five elements. This combination cycles every 60 years. It is the most important Chinese celebration of the year.
The Korean New Year is a Seollal, or Lunar New Year’s Day. Although January 1 is, in fact, the first day of the year, Seollal, the first day of the lunar calendar, is more meaningful for Koreans. Celebration of the Lunar New Year is believed to have started to let in good luck and ward off bad spirits all throughout the year. With the old year out and a new one in, people gather at home and sit around with their families and relatives, catching up on what they have been doing.
The Vietnamese New Year is the Tết Nguyên Đán which most times is the same day as the Chinese New Year due to the Vietnamese using the Lunar Calendar.
The Tibetan New Year is Losar and falls from January through March.