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The Dutch tend to take it relatively easy on 1st January – after a night of heavy partying they prefer to sleep in a little later than normal before enjoying a typical Dutch breakfast. However, 1st of January doesn’t mark the official start to a new year for everyone in the Netherlands. Indeed, many Dutch citizens celebrate their New Year on a completely different day and in an entirely different manner.
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year formally begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice of 21st December. This year Chinese New Year therefore falls on Friday, 31st January. One of the most important Chinese holidays, Chinese New Year is predominantly celebrated in Dutch cities, such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, which boast large Chinese communities. The most elaborate Chinese New Year celebrations in the Netherlands take place in the Nieuwmarkt and Zeedijk areas of Amsterdam, where the festivities include colourful dragon and lion dances. And, according to Chinese tradition, eating makes you happy, so visitors shouldn’t forget to pay a visit to one of the many authentic Chinese restaurants located in the capital’s bustling China Town.
Jewish New Year
Jewish New Year, which is better known as Rosh Hashanah, takes place during the first two days of the Jewish month of Tishri – on 25th and 26th September in 2014. For Dutch Jews prayer is central to the Rosh Hashanah celebration, in addition to enjoying a variety of traditional sweet treats, fresh fruit and challah, a special type of bread in the form of a braid that the symbolises the cycle of life.
Islamic New Year
Islamic New Year (usually referred to as Muharram) will be celebrated on 25th October in 2014. During the Islamic New Year a special prayer service is held in Dutch mosques, after which attendees wish each other a happy New Year.
Other New Year celebrations in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is also proud of its thriving Hindu and Buddhist communities, which celebrate their New Year on 31st March 2014 and 13th May 2014 (Theravada), respectively.
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?