Calendars and New Years

In the light of approaching Chinese New Year, I started to notice substantially increased amount of celebratory event postings and discussions of the upcoming fortunes. I have recently traveled to Las Vegas and Chinese New Year celebration has certainly made its mark there in a very noticeable way: Every hotel has huge, beautiful decorative displays of Chinese New Year charms. That being said, living in a multicultural society I notice New Year celebrations being mentioned rather regularly throughout the calendar year … At some point, I decided to address my confusion:


Solar calendars


Gregorian calendar December 31 Civil date marking the start of a new year


Early Church introduced Easter as a celebration that is supposed to occur on the first Sunday after the Full Moon after Spring Equinox. Overtime, Julian calendar produced 10 day deviation from the early Church’ standard. In order to stop the drift of the calendar with respect to equinoxes and solstices, Gregorian calendar replaced Julian calendar.


Gregorian calendar   is internationally the most widely used civil calendar


Julian calendar January 13 Currently (1901–2099), the Julian calendar is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar Julian calendar replaced Celtic, Old Germanic as well as Early Roman calendars
Jalali calendar March 20 or 21 Vernal Equinox marks the exact date and time when the Sun will cross the celestial equator thus crossing from southern to northers hemisphere


Vernal Equinox also marks the start of astronomical new year. You can see that being reflected in Jalali calendar:

The year is computed from the vernal equinox and each month is computed based on precise times of solar transit into a corresponding zodiac sign


Lunar calendar


Hijri calendar The first sighting of waxing crescent Moon just after it is new in the month of Muharram The New Moon itself is invisible; the crescent Moon is visible a day or so afterwards depending on the weather and other factors. Due to possible delays in sighting, some people prefer to rely on global sighting criteria or astronomical calculations


New Year celebrates the emigration of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina.


The pilgrimage to Mecca (mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking a journey) occurs in the last month of the Islamic calendar


Lunisolar calendar


Jewish calendar New Moon of Tishrei 1 Tishrei marks the first month of Jewish civil year and anniversary of creation


*Tishrai is the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year


Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the year because it is held on the traditional anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve and their inauguration of humanity’s role in God’s world


Jewish calendar accounts a total of 4 New Year celebrations in one year (each New Year serving a different purpose)


Chinese calendar New Moon between January 21 and February 20 New Moon closest to the half way point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox The Chinese zodiac has signs based on years as opposed to months. Each Chinese zodiac sign is governed by one of the four moon phases: New Moon, First Quarter Moon, Full Moon and the Last Quarter Moon





Thanks for reading,

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