North and South American New Year Celebrations
Explain to your students that the people of Canada, the United States, and Ecuador celebrate New Years according to the different customs of their heritage.
New Year in CanadaMany Canadians celebrate the end of the old year and the ringing in of the new year on December 31. The Coptic New Year celebration is held in Canada on September 11. This is when Egyptian-Canadians celebrate the return of Sirious (star) to the sky. It was a signal for the Egyptians that the River Nile would soon overflow.
Chinese New Year in CanadaToronto has a large population of Chinese. In Toronto's China Town, the street name signs are printed in both English and Chinese symbols. There is a celebration of the New Year (Gung Hay Fat Choy) with dancing in the streets and the traditional Chinese dragon.
New Year in the United StatesNew Year's Day is full of parades. Many Bowl parades are held on this day not the least of which is the Rose Bowl Parade. The floats are made of fresh flower petals, and are a beautiful sight. The parades are televised nationally and are held prior to the football playoffs.
New Year in EcuadorThis is a time for new clothes. Old clothes are often thrown away or burned. There is a parade in the evening in the center of town and a giant puppet figure wrapped in cloth is set on fire as a symbolic act. All of the mistakes, problems, and worries of the old year go up in smoke, and the new year marks a new beginning.