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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Philippines - One country, Three New Years

The Philippines celebrates three New Years!

New Year's Day - January 1The most commonly-celebrated holiday at the start each year signifying new beginnings, hence New Year's resolutions are made to be kept/broken on this day. January was derived Janus, the two-faced Roman god of gates, doors, beginnings and endings. Interestingly, the word Janitor was also coined from this god's name.

Amon Jaded - January 9 (date varies depending on Islamic calendar)

More of a cultural, rather than a religious, event which Muslims in the country celebrate (also a National Holiday) on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar which also marks the Hijra or emigration Prophet Muhammad made to the city now known as Medina.

Chinese New Year - February 7 Year of the Earth Rat (date varies depending on Lunar calendar)February 7 marks the first day of the China Lunar calendar year of 4705. The Chinese calendar follows a 12-year cycle starting with the years of the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. This order was established by Buddha based on the arrivals of the said animals to the meeting he called. The Chinese New Year also marks the Spring Festival. Many Chinese customs, beliefs and superstitions (on fireworks, clothes, fruits/food) were adopted by Pinoys to celebrate the New Year on January 1.

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