New Year is the day in which a new calendar year begins. Many cultures celebrate the coming of a new year in different ways. In the Gregorian calendar, the most widely used calendar system today, New Year occurs on January 1 (New Year’s Day, preceded by New Year’s Eve). This was also the first day of the year in the original Julian calendar and the Roman calendar (after 153 BC).
Other cultures observe their traditional or religious New Year’s Day according to their own customs, typically (though not invariably) because they use a lunar calendar or a lunisolar calendar.
Chinese New Year, the Islamic New Year, Tamil New Year (Puthandu), and the Jewish New Year are among well-known examples. India, Nepal, and other countries also celebrate New Year on dates according to their own calendars that are movable in the Gregorian calendar.
During the Middle Ages in Western Europe, while the Julian calendar was still in use, authorities moved New Year’s Day, depending upon locale, to one of several other days, including March 1, March 25, Easter, September 1, and December 25. Since then, many national civil calendars in the Western World and beyond have changed to using one fixed date for New Year’s Day, January 1, most of them doing so after they adopted the Gregorian calendar.
In Nigeria, Christians hold what is known as cross-over service in various churches which lasts till midnight of the new year. Special prayers are usually made to usher in the new year, the President and some state governors usually make a broadcast on the day to roll out plans for the year.
However, over the years it has been observed that there are different time zones across the globe, which means that some countries around the world get into the new year hours before others.
While many might think countries like Australia and New Zealand would be the first to celebrate the New Year, smaller island nations are actually the first to welcome the New Year.
Some of such counties include; Christmas Island, part of the Republic of Kiribati, is usually the first place to welcome the new year before any other part of the world.
Samoa is also an island nation that celebrates the New Year at the same time as New Zealand since they are in the same time zone.
Tonga, a Polynesian kingdom that consists of more than 170 South Pacific islands, lined in white beaches and coral reefs and covered with tropical rainforest, also gets into the new year at the same time as New Zealand and Samoa.
One of the more popular island nations in the South Pacific, Fiji, celebrates the New Year at 1pm Nigerian time.
The vastness of the Russian Federation puts a part of it in the New Year before the rest of the country. Russia’s Far East celebrates the New Year at the same time as Fiji.
At 2pm in the southwestern Pacific, Papua New Guinea celebrates the New Year.
Before any part of the mainland of the United States of America sees the New Year, Guam celebrates the same as Papua New Guinea. Guam is a US island territory in Micronesia, in the Western Pacific.
When it is 4 pm in Nigeria, countries in East Asia and Oceania such as Japan, North Korea, South Korea, and Indonesia celebrate the New Year.