New Year’s Eve on December 31st is one of the great New York City traditions, but New Yorkers actually celebrate many different New Years.
[ANTICIPATED] Thu-Sat, December 17-19, 2020 CATHEDRAL OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE Morningside Heights, Manhattan
Monday, December 21, 2020
Thursday, December 31, 2020 TIMES SQUARE, NYC
[Anticipated] Friday, February 12, 2021 SARA D. ROOSEVELT PARK Chinatown, Manhattan
Thursday, June 3, 2021 – “E ku odun, eku iyedun” (Happy New Year)
[ANTICIPATED] Saturday, June 19, 2021 CATHEDRAL OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE Morningside Heights, Manhattan
Thursday, June 24, 2021 CUZCO, Peru
Sundown, Monday, August 9, 2021
New Year Around the World
Gregorian (Roman), Jewish and Muslim New Year are pretty obvious, but there are also Yoruba, Hindu and Chinese New Year’s, and probably others that we don’t know about yet.
The Winter Solstice on the longest night of the year was probably a prehistoric form of New Year festival. Even that happens at opposite times of the year in the northern and southern hemispheres.
To respect our ancestors in the Americas, we acknowledge Aztec, Maya and Inca New Year. There are some claims of a Taíno New Year, but we don’t really know.
We are taught to see “other” cultures as monoliths, one big thing. The reality is that Indigenous culture is very local. Literate cultures write down their traditions, but pre-literate cultures pass their traditions orally. So traditions vary from one community to the next and even from one family to the next. That is still true. No two families celebrate the holidays in quite the same way.
Some cultures make a big deal out of New Year’s and other’s don’t. Muslim New Year is not traditionally acknowledged, though it can be in modern times. Manahatta’s Indigenous Lenape don’t seem to have had a New Year celebration, but were more in tune with the changing seasons than we are today.
We have to thank #BlackLivesMatter for helping us to see our world in a completely different, more inclusive way.
However and whenever you celebrate, Happy New Year!