Photo By: Flickr, Source, CC
By Emma Thurmanne
With 2021 here, it’s always helpful to dive into the history and different facts about the New Year. Here are five fascinating facts that can help you get your New Year off to the best start:
- The first celebration of the New Year is said to have taken place almost 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylon.
- The celebration was a 12-day festival in honor of the God Marduk, who was believed to have created the world.
- The Romans named January after their god Janus, the God of Beginnings and Endings.
- The first New Year was celebrated in 13 million cities and 195 countries in 2017.
- The most renowned New Year’s celebration is the ball drop in New York City’s Times Square. The tradition began in 1907.
After learning these fun facts, it’s a great way to start the New Year on the right foot. Learning the history of the New Year and how it is celebrated around the world is a great way to broaden your perspective and gain appreciation for the cultures and customs we share. Happy New Year!
What countries celebrate the new year first?
The first countries to celebrate the New Year are Samoa and Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean, then New Zealand and Australia, followed by Japan, South Korea and China in East Asia, before most of the rest of Asia. Russia and much of Eastern Europe follows, and then, at midnight Greenwich Mean Time, France, Germany and the other countries in Western Europe join in. Finally, in the Americas, Canada, the United States and most of Central and South America kick off their celebrations.
Which country celebrates new year first?
Every year, the tiny island nation of Kiribati in the South Pacific celebrates the New Year first. Kiribati is the first inhabited place to see the new day due to its location closest to the International Date Line.
Which countries and territories celebrate New Year’s Eve first?
The first countries and territories to celebrate New Year’s Eve are usually Samoa, Kiribati and other remote areas in the Pacific Ocean. As these areas lie west of the International Date Line, they are the first to greet the New Year. New Zealand, Australia, and a number of other Pacific countries and territories soon follow. From there, the New Year travels eastward, eventually crossing over into Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Which places celebrate New Year’s Eve before anyone else?
1. Kiribati, Samoa and Christmas Island – The nations of Kiribati, Samoa and Christmas Island usually see in the New Year first as they all lie west of the International Date Line.
2. Hawaii – Hawaii also celebrates the New Year before anyone else, due to its location in the Central Pacific time zone.
3. American Samoa – American Samoa is the fourth territory to welcome the New Year, crossing over at 11:00 AM on December 31, local time.
4. The Pitcairn Islands – The Pitcairn Islands, another British Overseas Territory that straddles the International Date Line, follows at 12 PM on December 31, local time.
5. The Chatham Islands – The fifth and final place to celebrate the New Year is the Chatham Islands, an isolated island group in New Zealand’s territorial waters. They cross over at just after 10 PM on December 31.
5 Fascinating New Year Facts to Start 2021 Off Right