Lunar New Year
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. (August 2015)
Lunar New Year is the beginning of a calendar year whose months are cycles of the moon. The relevant calendar may be a purely lunar calendar or a lunisolar calendar
The following East Asian and Southeast Asian Lunar New Year celebrations are, or were, based on the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar (occurring in late January or early February):
These South Asian traditional lunisolar celebrations are observed according to the local lunisolar calendars. They are influenced by Indian tradition, which marks the solar new year on the sun's entry into Aries in April.
These South and Southeast Asian New Year celebrations are quite similar to each other in that they have dates based on the solar cycle ("solar new year"), but are part of the local lunisolar calendar system or were historically observed according to the local lunisolar calendars, and thus do not generally align with the first day of the lunisolar year. They are influenced by Indian (Indic) tradition (occurring on 13/14 April):
Lunar New Year celebrations that originated in Western Asia fall on other days:
- Islamic New Year or Muslim New Year is not lunisolar but follows a purely lunar calendar of 12 months that retrogresses through the Gregorian and Julian calendar years. The day of Muslim New Year may thus fall in any season on the calendar.
- In Judaism (Rabbinic and Karaite) and Samaritan religious and secular traditions, there are as many as four lunar new year observances. Each tradition uses a slightly different version of the Hebrew Calendar but they are all lunisolar, so the days always fall in the same season.
- 1 Nissan/Abib (Aviv) is the first day of the religious new year in Rabbinic Judaism and the first day of the religious and secular new years in Karaite Judaism and Samaritanism. Rabbinic Judaism calls this the New Year for Kings and similarly numbers Nissan (aka Aviv) as the first month. Nissan/Abib begins in the spring. The climax of this lunar new year is the festival of Passover, which begins on 15 Nissan/Abib (Aviv).
- 1 Elul is the date on which the Samaritan calendar advances a year, on the theory that 1 Elul commemorates the creation of the earth. It corresponds to the New Year for Animal Tithes in the Rabbinic tradition. This is a very late summer/early autumn holiday.
- Rosh Hashanah in Rabbinic Judaism begins with the new moon of the month of Tishrei. It is the date on which the Rabbinic calendar advances a year, on the theory that 1 Tishrei is the day on which the world was born. Rosh Hashanah also inaugurates the ten days known as the High Holy Days/High Holidays or Days of Awe, culminating with Yom Kippur; which is the holiest day of the year in Rabbinic Judaism. For Samaritans and Karaites, Passover remains the holiest day of the year, so they observe 1 Tishrei as Yom Teruah, meaning "Day of Noise" (whereas Rosh Hashanah means "Head of the Year"). It is an autumn holy day.
- Tu BiShvat is the New Year for Trees in Rabbinic Judaism. It is a festive holiday rather than a holy day