新年快樂

While many students celebrated when the ball drops in Times Square, some are starting the party again today

Beginning with an extravagant display of pyrotechnics over the Sydney Opera House, moving across the Pacific Ocean at 1,040 mph, and lighting off similar fiery shows in such global hotspots as Buenos Aires, Miami, New York, Barcelona, Paris and Rome, the New Year makes itself known with an unavoidable BOOM across the Western world. However, in many places around the world, the Western world’s New Year is just another day.

Although some Westerners might think their calendar is the only calendar, the calendar used in the United States is a solar calendar, which marks dates based on the position of Earth relative to the sun. Other cultures, including Muslim (Islam uses a purely lunar calendar) and Asian cultures, use a lunar or lunisolar calendar, which sets dates based on a whole number of lunar months, and so is considered somewhat less accurate than the solar calendar, according to princeton.edu.

For those in countries including China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, today begins year 4712 of the lunisolar calendar. Many of these countries operate businesses according to a Western calendar, but deep-rooted cultural traditions prevail. Commonly known as the “Chinese New Year,” festivities in these countries focus heavily on food, family and gift exchanges.

“My favorite food out of all the ones I eat are the rice cakes they’re sweet and yummy,” senior Esther Yu said.

A commonly known element of the Chinese New Year to Westerners is the Chinese zodiac, an astrological system that cycles through 12 animals which are used to determine your personality traits based on the year you were born.

“It is not really accurate because they are all so vague, but they are fun to read about,” Yu said.

So if you’re looking to start your year again, or you and your family have yet to say goodbye to last year:

Happy New Year!