At midnight on January 1, the Ukrainians will celebrate the New Year. While the final preparations are coming to the end in our country, some countries already welcome the New Year. Meanwhile, the holiday will come a few hours later than in Ukraine.
Where people celebrate the New Year first
The citizens of Kiribati, the island state situated in the western part of the Pacific Ocean, welcome the New Year first. In 1994, the candidate for the presidency promised: if he wins the elections, he will ensure that the citizens of Kiribati will celebrate the New Year first. That is why, after the elections, the country divided into three time zones and the easternmost part of the country celebrates first in the world. The New Year here comes on December 31, 12:00 p.m. at Kyiv time.
In 15 minutes, the Chatham Islands (New Zealand) join the celebration. This island is farther away from the main islands of New Zealand and it is situated in a special time zone.
New Zealand, Antarctica and the Kamchatka Peninsula
In an hour after Kiribati (+1.00), the New Year will be welcomed by the citizens of New Zealand and polar explorers from the South Pole in Antarctica.
+2.00 - The New Year comes to the citizens of Far Eastern Russia (Anadyr, Kamchatka), Fiji, and some other Pacific Islands (Nauru, Tuvalu).
At 2:30 p.m. at Kyiv time (+2.30), the New Year begins on Norfolk Island (Australia) and at 3:00 p.m. on the part of eastern Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra) and some Pacific Islands (Vanuatu, Micronesia, Solomon Islands and others).
Sydney citizens prepare for the New Year seriously and start to decorate everything from the beginning of October. People there celebrate the New Year and Christmas twice. In summer, they really celebrate it in accordance with all canons and they decorate a Christmas tree. The enchanting New Year firework, which lasts at least 30 minutes, launched near the Sydney Opera House.
+3.30 p.m. – South Australia (Adelaida).
+4.00 p.m. – Queensland state in Australia (Brisbane), part of Russia (Vladivostok) and some islands (Papua New Guinea, Mariana Islands).
+4.30 p.m. – Northern territories of Australia (Darwin).
Japan and Koreas
At 5:00 p.m. at Kyiv time (+5.00) the New Year is celebrated in Japan and both Koreas (North and South).
The farewell to the Old year is obligatory in Japan. The Japanese start to laugh hard as the new year begins. They believe that the laugh will bring them luck in the coming year. Usually, they visit the temple on the first new year's night where the bell strikes aside, which cast out evil spirits.
In an hour after Japan, the New Year comes to the remaining territories of Australia and part of Southeast Asia.
China also falls right into that time window but the first day of the New Year is celebrated on the second new moon after the winter solstice. Thus, the Chinese New Year will start on February 12th, and it will last until January 31st of 2022. The Chinese consider that the new year is surrounded by evil spirits. That is why they scare the spirits with party poppers and firecrackers. The color of the Chinese New Year is always red as it is due to the ancient legend about the beast called Nian. It came out of the water on the eve of the holiday and attacked the people and cattle; that is why everyone was hiding in their homes. Once, an old man came to the village and asked for lodging for the night in return for the protection from the beast. When people agreed, he marked the houses with red paint, lit candles in each house, and launched fireworks. The beast, according to the legend, was frightened by the red color and loud noises. Nian left people alone and candles, firecrackers and an abundance of red color became the constant features of the Chinese New Year.
One of the unbroken traditions of the New Year for the Chinese is the celebration in the family.
Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India
At 7:00 p.m. at Kyiv time, Indonesia and the remaining territories of Southeast Asia. At 7:30 p.m., the holiday comes to Myanmar, at 8:00 p.m. to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and part of Russia (Novosibirsk, Omsk). At 8:15 p.m., Nepal will celebrate the New Year and the celebration will come to India in 15 minutes.
The New Year is celebrated in India differently. In one of its parts, the holiday begins when the kite is struck by the flaming arrow.
Pakistan, Armenia, Georgia
On December 31, at 9:00 p.m. at Kyiv time (+9:00), the celebration is started in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and part of Russia (Yekaterinburg, Ufa). At 9:30 p.m., Afghanistan starts the celebration. At 10:00 p.m., Armenia, Azerbaijan, part of Russia (Samara) and Georgia will see the New Year.
By the way, a special guest, mekvle, is invited to the house in Georgia. Nobody can leave or enter the house before his arrival. Crossing the doorstep, mekvle should notify the owners of the house: “I bring you joy, happiness, health, kindness and well-being!”. Mostly, the head of the family plays this role.
In 12 hours after the celebration of the New Year in Kiribati, the holiday comes to Eastern Europe (Romania, Greece, Ukraine). At the same time, the New Year is celebrated in Turkey, Israel and Finland).
The Finnish families gather near the New Year table; the children wait from Joulupukki, the name of Finish Santa Claus, a big basket of gifts. On New Year night, the Finns read fortune to know their future.
In Greece, the New Year is the day of Saint Basil. Saint Basil was known for his kindness and the Greek children leave their shoes near the fireplace in the hope that Saint Basil will fill the shoes with gifts.
Western and Central Europe
At 1:00 a.m. at Kyiv time, on January 1, the New Year begins in the countries of Western and Central Europe as well as in the part of Africa.
As soon as the New Year comes, Italians are hastening to get rid of the things, which ‘have served its time’. The custom remained in Italy to bring the clean water from the spring well on the first morning of the year as it is believed that the water brings happiness.
At 4:00 a.m. at Kyiv time (+16:00), Brazil begins the celebration of the New Year. The gifts are presented to the Goddess of Sea Yemoja in Rio de Janeiro. The gifts are usually put into the small boats and sent to the sea as a sign of gratitude for the past year and as a request for protection in the coming year.
Canada and the U.S.
The New Year comes to Newfoundland Island (Canada) at 5:30 a.m. at Kyiv time. At 6:00 a.m., Eastern Canada, many Caribbean islands and part of South America start the celebration. At 7:00 a.m., the New Year begins in the Eastern part of Canada (Ottawa) and the U.S. (Washington, New York).
By the way, the traditional launch of the famous Ball with thousands of neon-filled bulbs takes place at New York Times Square.
The citizens of Samoa celebrate the New Year the last. The holiday comes here at 13:00 p.m. on January 1, at Kyiv time.