The celebration of the advent of a new year has been something that most cultures have done for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
Every country in the world has infused their own different customs and traditions to these celebrations, adding their own flavor to them.
New Year’s traditions are a way for people to reflect on their year, and focus on hopes and plans for the next year. Most, if not all, cultures around the world do so in a variety of ways, with each custom designed to bring hope, optimism, and luck in their communities for the year ahead. Some of these are centuries-long traditions, that have been passed down from generation to generation in the form of festive decorations, the baking and/or cooking of a special New Year’s dish, or performing a superstitious tradition when the clock strikes midnight, or during New year's eve.
New Year’s traditions are unique to their country of origin, and they usually use specific objects, dishes, and celebrations that are inherent to the cultures it has. The earliest recorded New Year’s celebration dates back to ancient Babylon, where the first new moon following the vernal equinox marked the start of their new year. Babylonians celebrated this with a religious festival called Akuti, a multi-day festival that honored the rebirth of the natural world.
Over the years, calendars fell out of sync with the sun, and the start of the year fell on different days, until Julius Caesar introduced the Julian calendar in 45 B.C. Caesar instituted January 1st as the first day of the year, and the calendar closely resembled that of the modern Gregorian calendar- The one we use in the US today. For us, most of the activities related to the New Year begin on December 31st, the last day of the Gregorian calendar, and continue into the early hours of January 1st.
The marking of a New Year is an age-old tradition around the world where people gather with friends and family to share food, watch the fireworks in some cases, and reflect with friends and family about what's to come- and wish everyone a good time in the year to come, but the specific time that we all celebrate varies between different calendars, religions and cultures. While the Gregorian calendar (introduced through Christianity) has mostly been used in the western world, the lunar and solar calendars or a combination of the two are used by millions of people around the world as well.
Here's a list of some celebrations from around the world and what they are. Here and here you can find unique ways countries celebrate their new year.