2016 is finally here! It is a day of personal reflection, setting a new direction and goal(s) for one’s life and recuperation from a night filled with libations and excitement. Most of the world celebrated ringing in the New Year last night, December 31st, the last day of the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar also called Western calendar or Christian calendar is the most used civil calendar in the world and was introduced in 1582 for Pope Gregory XIII. Civilizations around the globe have been celebrating the start of each new year for at least four millennia. Common modern day traditions include attending parties, eating special New Year’s foods, making resolutions and watching fireworks displays. There are also many other traditions throughout the world that celebrate the New Year differently, based on their religions or calendar changes.
Chinese New Year, also called Spring Festival, has more than 4,000 years of rich history. It is the grandest and the most important annual event for Chinese people. These celebrations are deep routed traditions based on a traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar whose date indicates both the moon phase and the time of the solar year. For 2016, it will be officially recognized on February 8th with celebrations starting on the eve of February 7th, ending a week later on February 13th. Many people clean and decorate their homes with the color red used throughout. Decorations with posters having poetic verses are posted on doors, pictures of prosperity on walls, red envelopes with money given out as gifts and homes beautifully adorned with red lanterns. 2016 will also be the year of the Monkey according to the Chinese 12-year animal zodiac cycle with monkeys being a common decorating, gift giving theme.
The Jewish religion celebrates New Years in September or October which is known as Rosh Hashanah. In 2016, it will be celebrated on October 3rd and 4th. It’s is a two-day celebration filled with religious customs including the sounding of a shofar (a hollowed-out ram’s horn), following the prescription of the Hebrew Bible to “raise a noise” on Yom Teruah and then eating symbolic foods such as apples dipped in honey to evoke a sweet new year. The Jewish New Year is celebrated in September or October because it symbolizes the start of a cycle of sowing, growth and harvest.
The people of Thailand celebrate their New Years with a three-day celebration called Songkran. The word Songkran was actually derived from “Sankranti”, which means “to move or to change”. For 2016, it will be celebrated from April 13th through April 15th. This festive occasion is connected to the Buddhist/Hindu solar calendar. The Thai people tie strings around each other’s wrists to show respect to one another. The strings are just left on indefinitely and just naturally fall off. A fun part of the celebrations is better known as the “water fight”. Children and adults alike throw water upon others, which symbolizes the cleansing and rejuvenating of their bodies.
On the top of most of our New Year’s resolution lists is living a healthier lifestyle through exercise. Gyms of course are a great way to accomplish this personal goal but tend to be a bit crowded every year starting in January. Why not be outdoors on a bicycle seeing the sights and sounds of LA while getting the blood pumping at the same time. Our LA in a Day Bicycle Tour is a guided adventure that will take you on a 32 mile journey seeing LA from a very unique, cool perspective —it’s truly the best way to see the city and all of its hidden gems. Would prefer to explore the city at your own pace, no problem, as we have plenty of bicycles available to rent . We can find the perfect bike for you, which includes a free helmet, lock and safety vest as well as a free map of the city. A really great alternative to burn off those extra calories is joining us on our Hollywood Hills Daytime or Sunset Hike. Our expertly guided hikes are a very fun, informative way to get outdoors and exercise with of course incredible photo opportunities. Cheers to all for a 2016 filled with peace, love, health and prosperity!