Happy New Year!

As we mark the start of 2011, we would like to tell you about how people around the world celebrate the New Year.
Let’s find out how our APU friends spend their New Years’ and learn more about the different traditions of people around the world!


Click on the faces to hear “Happy New Year” in their mother tongue.
※ The language used is the student's mother tongue.



ORJASAETER Even APS 3rd year, Norway
New Year’s eve in Norway is a spectacular event – with glittering fireworks lighting up the cities. People buy their own fireworks and enjoy the day in social gatherings with friends and family.
There is a traditional meal with many delicacies including Turkey. Another tradition for the day, quite similar to that of Halloween, is called Nyttarsbukk – children sing songs, and go to people’s homes asking for candy.



MIZANUR Rahman APM 1st year, Bangladesh
On January 1, people go to the Poyela Boishakh Festival.Men wear Panjabi, and women wear white Shari with a red coloured border.They gather at Ramna Park in Dhaka and eat a variety of cakes, fried fish and rice.Everyone enjoys eating and singing together.



CHERN Judy APS, Vancouver, Canada
We don’t have a special kind of dish or food that is eaten at New Year’s. Many young people like to go out to dance clubs and drink beer until the early hours of the morning. Other people like to invite their family and friends around for a new year’s party.



MAO Vadhana GSAM, Cambodia
Cambodia’s New Year is from April 13th to 15th, the end of the harvesting season, and we celebrate it for three days. Traditionally people visit temples and bring food to Buddhist Pagodas as an offering to the monks. There is a belief that on the New Year Day, twelve angels come to earth to take care of their creation. To welcome these holy angels, each family prepares foods, drinks and fruits. We pray for happiness and also offer food to our ancestors. In addition, during the New Year’s festivals, young people gather to play popular traditional games such as “Chaol Chhoung” (throwing a piece of scarf rolled into a ball) and “Angkunh” (a game involving throwing tree seeds).



John Collins Staff, New Zealand
Because New Year's comes in the middle of summer in the southern hemisphere, people in New Zealand like to get together with family and friends for BBQ's, playing cricket on the beach, or just having a lazy day in the sun. Many people also like to leave the towns and cities and go camping in the countryside or at the beach. Xmas is the major event at the end of the year and involves family traditions and customs, but New Years is very much up to the individual. Many young people like to venture into town and have a drink with their mates, while others like to stay at home and greet the New Year with the family.



SANCHEZ AMAYA Pedro Felipe APS3rd year, Columbia
There are many different kinds of food in Colombia. Though I think the most popular one at New Year’s is called “Lechona” which is basically pork filled with rice, green beans and innards. We also eat a lot of fruit such as grapes. We eat 12 grapes to represent the 12 months of the year. As for drink, everyone likes beer and soda for the children. In my family, we like a glass of wine. People in country believe that wearing yellow underpants will bring you good luck. Most of the people wear their favorite clothes and often their new clothes. In Colombia, New Year’s is more of a family matter and people like to spend time with their family and enjoy setting off fireworks with the neighbors.



JORGENSEN I. I. J. APM 2nd year, Greenland, Denmark
In Greenland, people all around the land celebrate the New Year on the 31st night of December. They usually gather with their family members to celebrate this occasion with many types of delicious foods. Although people have the general idea that Greenland is covered with snow, the land is famous for producing some of the most delicious foods in the world. On New Years Eve they enjoy traditional dishes including foods made from different parts of whale meat, Musk Ox meat and Reindeer meat which they like to BBQ or grill. People like to countdown to the New Year with a glass of wine. They enjoy a toast to the New Year and enjoy spending time with their family members. Another special activity on this night is to go to see the Aurora of the northern sky.



SETHURAM Sharanya GSAD, Kerala, India
People in India celebrate New Year’s in various ways. In Southern India, more specifically Kerala, the New Year celebration is known as “Vishu”. The most important event during Vishnu is “Vishu Kani”. People arrange decoration including a medium sized mirror, a variety of fruits, rice and pulse grains that are kept in the prayer room. Flowers and other decorations, and many coins (money, sometimes of different currencies) are also used. Early in the morning when we wake up, the first thing we look at is the Vishu Kani. We usually do not open our eyes until we reach the prayer room. This Vishu Kani is symbolic of seeing another bountiful year filled with good food and prosperity. For the day, people wear new traditional clothes. During the day, we usually have a feast with all the traditional food items including “payasam” which is a sweet dish made out of milk and Jaggary. The rest of the day is spent by praying and spending time with the family, wishing our best wishes to others and visiting other people’s Kani.



NGUYEN Mai Anh APM 2nd year, Hanoi, Vietnam
In Vietnam, from the north to the south, people celebrate the “Tet” Lunar New Year, which is around the end of January or the beginning of February based on the Vietnamese Lunar Calendar.
In the northern regions, traditional foods include “Banh Chung” (sticky rice cake with green bean and pork) and spring rolls, and in the south, some of the most popular dishes include “Banh Tet” (similar to “Banh Chung” but formed in a cylindrical shape).
Almost every family displays peach blossoms and mandarins. During the 1st lunar month, people in Vietnam celebrate many festivals such as the Huong Pagoda Festival in Ha Tay Province, a religious festival held in the Huong Tich Mountains.



KINOSHITA Masaki APS 2nd year, Japan
There are many events in Japan during the New Year’s period. For example, “hatsu-mode” (first prayer of the year) and New Year’s greeting cards. For young children, New Year’s is a happy time because they can receive “Otoshi-dama” (New Year’s gift of money) from their parents and relations. We also visit our relations and people who have been kind to us over the year.



KOO LI Estiven APM 2nd year, San Jose, Costa Rica
“As my parents are of Asian descent; we don’t have any specific food that we eat at New Years but we have a family tradition of eating out at a restaurant. We celebrate New Year by travelling around the country. There is a famous festival held during New Year in Costa Rica called “Festival de La Luz” which means “the festival of lights”. This festival is celebrated all over the country.



DONG Lei APM 2nd year, Tianjin, China
Generally speaking, Chinese Lunar New Year Festivals share the same traditions and customs all over the country. In my hometown, members of the family gather in an enormous special dinner in which “Jiaozi”, a widely popular kind of Chinese dumpling, is the central dish.
Chinese parallel scrolls and red paper cuttings are two of the main features of house decorations at this time of year. We believe that the red color will bring luck for the coming year. Spring Festival in mid-February is perhaps the most widely celebrated festival in the lunar calendar.
In Tianjin, locals get together with family and friends to exchange gifts before heading out to enjoy street parades, traditional dragon dances and fabulous fireworks displays.



JOH Yeh Eun APS 3rd year, Korea
“Teok guk” is one of the traditional Korean recipes we enjoy during the Korean New Years. The dish is made up of soup served with thinly sliced rice cakes, cooked eggs, and marinated meat. People believe that eating the dish will give you good luck for the forthcoming year. We also play “Yut”, a traditional board game played during New Year, composing of stitched cloth as a board, “Yut” sticks (as a type of dice) and tokens for each player.



MAYR Martina Sabrina APM 3rd year, German
New Year’s Eve in Germany is the feast day of Saint Silvester. People dance, sing, drink, play games, and celebrate with family and friends. An important tradition is the ‘bleigiessen’, used to predict the year to come. People usually heat up plumbs until they liquefy before putting them into cold water. They immediately solidify and turn into a unique form. Every form has a different meaning for what’s going happen to them the following year (e.g. shape of heart means marriage, shape of ship means journey). At 12’ people hug, kiss, and wish each other "Gutes Nue Jahr".



TINARI Abebe AMP 2nd year, Canada
In Canada, New Year often gets lumped into the “holiday season” along with a variety of other holidays that take place around the same time (especially Christmas). There are, however, some traditions that are unique to New Years. Although people are expected to be at home with their family at Christmas, people often go to parties at New Years. Young people meet their friends and adults often go to parties at work. At these parties the tone is relaxed and fun and Champaign is usually drunk. People reflect on the year gone past and make New Years resolutions - goals that they plan to accomplish in the next year. These involve things such as “losing weight”, “finding a girlfriend”, and more. As midnight approaches, everyone counts down the seconds (usually accompanied by a TV countdown) and when the clock strikes 12, everyone shouts “Happy New Year!”.



KANCHEVA Katya Sevdalinova APM 4th year, Bulgaria
New Year is celebrated with great festivities and excitement in Bulgaria. Also known as St. Basil’s Day or Survaki, the day is very important to all Bulgarians. During the week of New Year, the streets are filled with many music festivals, carnivals, and traditional events. People wish good tidings to each other, sing songs, and carry ‘survaknista’ (a pole cut out of cornell tree, and decorated). It is also a custom to eat ‘banista’, a cheese pie with charms baked inside (symbolic objects like coins, small dogwood branch – symbol of health, and even pieces of paper with wishes such as ‘happiness’, ‘health’, ‘new car’, ‘going abroad’ etc.). People have fun anticipating charms, and look for charms in their piece of the banista.



BALICA Alexandra Maria APM 2nd year, Galati, Rumania
New Year’s cuisine in Romania includes a salad of cucumbers, potatoes, red peppers, and chicken dressed with mayonnaise and cabbage rolls stuffed with rice and pork. Romanians also have a custom of placing water and paper currency in a bowl and washing their face and hands with the water. In rural Romania, agriculture is an important part of life. On New Year's Day, townspeople sing songs and parade through the streets dressed like bears, horses, goats and other animals to wish for a bountiful harvest. The people dressed up like animals pretend to die and come back to life in little performances that remind people of their permanent coexistence with animals.



LEI lei Nwe APM 2nd year, Myanmar
In Myanmar, the New Year comes in April.
At New Year’s, people like to eat Burmese sweet white dumplings with their friends and family. We also enjoy taking part in the ‘Thingyan’ New Year Water Festival and splashing each other with water.



BELROSE Coralie Anne Melodie APM, France
In France, there is less of a distinction between the celebrations of New Year and Christmas, it is a general season filled with festivities. ‘La Saint-Sylvestre’, or New Years Eve, is celebrated with a big feast called ‘le Réveillon de Saint-Sylvestre’ with special food and champagne. At midnight, people kiss under the mistletoe (interestingly a tradition of New Year more than Christmas in France). On New Year’s Day (le Jour de l'An) friends and family exchange cards and gifts, and share their resolutions. The streets and shops are magically decorated and lit up for a season full of joy and celebrations.



NAGANO Yuta APS 2nd year, Japan
My name is NAGANO Yuta and I’m currently studying as an exchange student at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK. I asked a friend of mine, Jam, how he spends the New Years. This is what he said:
“On New Year’s Eve we hang out, drink with our friends and sing lots of songs. We also watch the New Year fireworks display, play family games and eat lots of food”.



ZHU Wei APM 2nd year, Zhejiang, China
In China we observe two New Years: the lunar (Chinese) New Year and solar (western) New Year. Solar New Year’s is celebrated on January 1st, but the lunar New Year involves a much bigger celebration and is observed on February 3. Family and relatives come together and enjoy a feast in their new clothes. There are lantern festivals, the streets and lavishly decorated, and people let off firecrackers instead of fireworks.



TAY Zhong Jie Edwin APM 4th year, Singapore
Almost every family in Singapore celebrates two New Years: January the 1st and Chinese New Year. January the 1st is usually the time for friends to hang out together and celebrate the coming year while at Chinese New Year, under the relevant Chinese zodiac sign, families gather and prepare for a New Year reunion special dinner. The indispensable food is Bakkwa (jerky-style barbecued pork slice) and also pineapple tart, which is a symbol for fortune.
Similar to Japan, China and many other countries, children receive Hong Bao, a sparkling red lucky envelope with a present of money inside. It contains all the wishes from family members for their children’s health and study. It is also believed that the red color brings luck into the family in the New Year.



ROXAS Sidney Chan APS 2nd year, Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines, New Year’s Celebrations are an extension of Christmas holidays and concludes with the “Feast of the Three Kings” which falls on the first Sunday of January. Filipinos celebrate with families and friends through the preparation of grand and appetizing feasts. In addition, 12 round-shaped fruits are delightfully arranged on the table during New Year’s Eve to signify abundance and fortune for the coming year. We light firecrackers in the streets to chase away evil spirits. As early as 10:00 in the evening on the 31st of December, the skies are lit with breathtaking fireworks. Children play on the “torotot” (traditional horns) while jumping up and down in belief that they will grow taller. Family members either get dressed in red or garments with polka dots as red and round shapes represent prosperity.



YOO Ju Wan APM 1st year, Seoul, Korea
At New Year, people in Korea like to eat ‘tokku’, a sweet Korean rice cake. Although not as popular as it used to be, people like to welcome the New Year dressed in Chimachogori, a traditional Korean dress. People also enjoy playing ‘Yunnori’, a Korean variant of backgammon.



FATEMEE Muhammad Shahinur R. APM 2nd year, Dhaka, Bangladesh
The Bangladeshi New Year begins on April 14th. This used to be the date on which everyone paid their taxes to the king, and it was also the day on which shops got new accounts ledgers. The king would give sweets to the people who paid their taxes, so now Bangladeshis eat sweet foods on New Year's Day. Throughout Bangladesh, people celebrate the New Year from morning until night. At festivals, you can see portable Ferris wheels, snake charmers and elephants. Most people in Bangladesh are Muslim, but on New Year's Day everyone comes out to celebrate regardless of their religion.



GUNAWARDANA Charitha Lakmali APM 3rd year, Sri Lanka
Sinhalese New Year day is set astrologically, and begins when the sun moves from Pisces to Aries. ‘Aluth Avurudhu’ (New Year) usually falls on April 13th or 14th, symbolizing the end of the harvest (spring) season. People follow ‘Nonagathe’, a period when it is considered unlucky to do any activity (including study, work, and cooking). They visit temples to pray for the year. There is a ceremonial bath, marking the beginning of the new year. There is another astrologically determined time during which people can resume work – and the first activity of the year begins with boiling a pot of milk. Many sweets are made, and the traditional milk rice Kiri Bhaat is cooked. A thorough house clean up is done. Children usually seek the blessings of adults, who in turn gift them with money. Many games, both in door and out door are played, and everyone enjoys a good time with family and friends.

Student Press Assistant (SPA)
MAEHARA Hironobu(APS, Japan)
NAGANO Yuta (APS, Japan)
Ha Thanh Binh (APS, Vietnam)
MAO Zhewei (APM, China)
SETHURAM Shyamala (APM, India)
HORAI Yuki(APS, Japan)
SHIKAKURA Kanoko (APM, Japan)
VEGAFRIA Elaine Cruz (APM, Philippines)
KIMURA Kaori (APM, Japan)
INTUVISANKUL Chairit (APS, Thailand)