New Year Celebrations in Different Countries (Afghanistan, Cambodia, Morocco)
There are countries, where Christmas traditions are considerably different from our familiar and dear habits. In particular, these differences are obvious in non-Christian countries. Here are a few examples of countries where Christmas is celebrated in other traditions.
New Year in Afghanistan
Nowruz (Persian "now"-"new" and "ruz"-"day" meaning "The New Day") marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in the Persian calendar. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical Northward equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day.
This holiday is celebrated with great fanfare in Afghanistan and lasts at least 2 weeks. Preparations for the big day usually start after Chaharshanbe-Suri, the last Tuesday night of the year. Chaharshanbe-Suri (a pagan and idolatrous holiday) is a fire jumping festival during which people make bonfires in the streets and jump over them singing "zardi-ye man az toh, sorkhi-ye toh az man''. The literal translation is, ''my yellow is yours, your red is mine''. In other words, this means you want the fire to take your pallor, sickness, and problems and in turn give you redness, warmth, and energy.
Among various traditions and customs Guli Surkh festival is considered to be the most importanat festival for Nowroz, which means Red Flower Festival (referring to the red Tulip flowers). It is celebrated in the city of Mazar-e Sharif during the first 40 days of the year when the Tulip flowers grow in the green plains and over the hills surrounding the city. People from all over the country travel to Mazari Sharif to participate in the Nawroz festivals.
The most popular dish of the New Year is Haft Mewa, which is translates as Seven Fruits. Haft Mewa is like a Fruit salad made from 7 different Dried fruits, served in their own syrup.
New Year in Cambodia
Cambodian New Year or the Chaul Chnam Thmey (New Year in Cambodian language) is celebrated for three days. According to the Gregorian Calendar, it falls on April 13 or 14. New Year in Cambodia represents the end of the harvesting season.
New Year in Cambodia is celebrated by acting various rituals and playing different games. The three day New Year celebration includes the following traditions:
First Day - Moha Sangkran
It is considered that on this day God's angels come to earth to take care of creatures created by God.
To welcome these holy angels, people clean and tidy up their houses. Members of the family place an idol of Lord Buddha on an altar and decorate it with flowers, candles, incense sticks, put a bowl of scented water, eatables, drinks and banana leaves.
Second Day – Vanabot
On the second day of New Year celebrations, people carry out charity works and alms to the poor. It is also considered good to present gifts to family members and relatives. At some official places employees get gifts and other monetary awards.
Third Day - Leung Sakk
On the third day of New Year celebrations people wash all the idols of Lord Buddha with scented water. It is believed that this provides good rains throughout the whole year.
Children pay respect to their elders by washing their feet and get blessings in return.
New Year in Morocco
New Year in Morocco is celebrated with great enthusiasm and with the participation of all sections of people. Due to the migration to Morocco by the French and the Spanish, there is a strong western influence in the lifestyle of the people. The New Year in Morocco is celebrated in hotels, nightclubs, restaurants.
Believers attend the prayer houses and spend New Year there. A large number of foreigners also join local people to celebrate the New Year party. "Happy New years" fill the air as the clock strikes 12 o'clock at midnight. Drivers pass through the streets, shouting and hooting. Many blow their horns to celebrate New Year. In major cities and towns the party continues till the next day.
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