New Year’s Celebrated All Around the World

Many+San+Diegans+celebrate+Vietnamese+New+Year+at+the+yearly+Tet+festival+in+Mira+Mesa%2C+which+provides+entertainment%2C+food%2C+games%2C+and+education+about+Vietnamese+culture+and+the+new+year.+
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New Year’s Celebrated All Around the World

Many San Diegans celebrate Vietnamese New Year at the yearly Tet festival in Mira Mesa, which provides entertainment, food, games, and education about Vietnamese culture and the new year.

Many San Diegans celebrate Vietnamese New Year at the yearly Tet festival in Mira Mesa, which provides entertainment, food, games, and education about Vietnamese culture and the new year.

Micahrae Osteria

Many San Diegans celebrate Vietnamese New Year at the yearly Tet festival in Mira Mesa, which provides entertainment, food, games, and education about Vietnamese culture and the new year.

Micahrae Osteria

Micahrae Osteria

Many San Diegans celebrate Vietnamese New Year at the yearly Tet festival in Mira Mesa, which provides entertainment, food, games, and education about Vietnamese culture and the new year.

Mina Orlic, Sports Editor

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   Every year, around the end of December and beginning of January, the phrase “New Year, New Me!” is heard almost as often as “I don’t want to be here” or “I hate this.” Despite the vastly negative comments that can be heard in our very own halls, the new year actually holds more significance to many people from diverse backgrounds than you would expect. What most people don’t know is that the start of a new year doesn’t just reset the calendar, it also signifies a new beginning, hopefully filled with luck, wealth, and prosperity for many different cultures including, but not limited to, Vietnamese, Thai, and Jewish.

  This year, the Vietnamese New Year celebration, Tet [pronounced Thet], fell on February 16. A website on Vietnamese culture states that Tet celebrations play on the Vietnamese people’s belief that there are 12 sacred animals from the zodiac that take turns monitoring and controlling earthly affairs. On New Year’s Eve, or Giao Thua (a phrase that literally means “passage from the old to the new year”), people believe they are seeing the old ruling animal end his term and pass his power to the new one (vietnam-culture.com).

   Some cultural practices that take place during Tet include purchasing new clothes for the children, cleaning the house to get rid of bad fortunes, and the distribution of red envelopes filled with money. Hoa Mai [yellow apricot flowers] and Hoa Dao [warm pink peach blossoms] are a symbol of new beginnings (vietnam-culture.com). “I like seeing family and friends come together to celebrate and have fun, and all the kids love getting red envelopes,” stated Sophomore Cindy Vu.

   While many of us here in San Diego celebrate New Year’s, counting down the seconds ‘till the ball drops in Times Square, the Thai people partake in Songkran, an annual water festival that marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year. According to a website that specializes in travel, Songkran festivities begin on April 13 — a day when people clean their houses and public places, and throw water over one another in an attempt to conceive good rains for the year ahead. This is called Rohd Nam Songkran, meaning “the pouring of Songkran water” (hostelworld.com).

    April 14 is set aside for visiting a Buddhist temple and paying respects to Buddha as a way to bring good luck for the members of family. The final day of Songkran, which is actually New Year’s Day, takes place on April 15. Offerings are left at temples, and the streets are filled with people throwing water, singing, dancing, and wishing each other a Happy New Year (hostelworld.com).

   Lastly, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, is one of Judaism’s holiest days. Literally meaning “head of the year” or “first of the year,” the celebration begins on the first day of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, which falls sometime between September or October. An article from the official History Channel website says, unlike the New Year’s parties many people tend to throw, Rosh Hashanah is a relatively subdued holiday in which work is prohibited, and religious Jews spend much of the holiday attending synagogue (history.com) .

  After returning home from the synagogue, many Jewish people eat a festive meal which will generally include apples with honey and  round challah bread. Some even practice a custom known as tashlich, in which they throw pieces of bread into a flowing body of water while reciting prayers; those who embrace this tradition believe they are spiritually cleansed and renewed (history.com). Sophomore Shayna Meltzer said, “My favorite part is when my friends and I take care of the little kids while their parents are in services, because they’re always really cute and like sounding the shofar [an ancient horn].”

    Whether you celebrate this time with flowers, cleaning, water, or prayer, New Year’s is a time for new beginnings, resolutions, and a chance to embrace something new. Though there are many different ways to celebrate, no matter what culture you come from, New Year’s is an opportunity to gain luck, prosperity, wealth, spiritual cleansing, and good health in the twelve months to follow.

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