New Year

New Year is the most important celebration of each year. It marks the point where the heavens change course and the growing season begins. The exact date is determined each year by the holy men but it usually takes place at the beginning of April.

The celebrations of New year take place over twenty one days with extra preparatory and post festival period that extends the entire celebration an extra two weeks in either direction. It is split up as follows:

During the two weeks proceeding the ceremonies the family home is thoroughly cleaned and renewed. The entire family gathers to polish the silverware, pots and pans, wash the rugs, carpets and curtains and replace items that have become worn during the previous year. During the new year festivalities the house is filled with sweet smelling flowers and those who can afford it burn incense. Before the ceremony each individual works to cleanse and renew themselves. New clothes are purchased for the days of the festival by all but the poorest of people and those who cannot afford a new outfit will do their best to mend and refresh their best clothes for the occasion.

Ten days before new year the festivalities, competitions and parties begin. One of the oldest traditions during this period of the festival is fire jumping. Low fires are set and everyone takes it in turn to jump over each one - burning away the last year so that the person can begin the new. It is traditional to make a wish when you jump over the fire. Sumptuous feasts are accompanied by dramatic parades and decadent parties. This is the traditional period for old grievances to be resolved.

As the sun sets on the dusk of new year day itself old issues are meant to be sent along with it. At midnight an astronomical reading is taken by the holy men and the portents for the following year announced. Tradition dictates that the first visitor to the home on the day following the new year announcements will set the feeling for the entire year and this has developed into neighbours sending their most innocent child to visit the house next door at dawn.

The Ten days period after new year marks the most favorable period for new projects to begin and for weddings and births to occur.

Ten days after new year the festivalities, competitions and parties end.

During the next two weeks it is traditional to spend time visiting family and friends.