The key difference between New Year and Christmas is that New Year’ celebrates the end of a calendar year and the beginning of a new one, whereas Christmas is a religious festival celebrated on December 25th to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.
Both New Year and Christmas are the world’s most famous festivals celebrated in the winter months. People celebrate these festivals with various activities. Normally, Christmas is celebrated with family and friends by giving gifts and enjoying feasts, but New Year is celebrated with parties, alcohol, and fireworks.
What is New Year?
New year is the first day of the modern Georgian calendar and the Julian calendar. The festivities begin on December 31st, which is the last day of the Georgian calendar, and continue to the early hours of January 1st.
New year festivities include parades, concerts, family gatherings, and parties where people drink, eat, and have fun, watch fireworks, enjoy special new year’s foods, and count down the time to the new year. People also make greeting cards, exchange messages, and make new year’s resolutions through which they get rid of unhealthy habits and plan a more organized and happy life. In countries like Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, new year’s day is a public holiday.
Sydney in Australia is one of the cities that celebrates new year celebrations first since the new year arrives there before other major cities. The beginning of the new year is broadcasted all over the world. Other than Australia, countries like Tonga, Samoa, Kiribati, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea celebrate the new year first, while the last to celebrate the new year is Baker’s Island in the Central Pacific Ocean.
Countries that do not follow the Gregorian calendar have different new year days. For example,
- Western Australia –Aboriginal Murador on October 30th
- Cambodia – Cambodian New Year on April 13th -15th
- Sri Lanka- Sri Lankan New Year on April 13th
- China – Chinese New Year on January 21st and February 20th
- India – Gujarati New Year from mid-October to mid-November
What is Christmas?
Christmas is December 25th, the day that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a holiday, and Christians around the world celebrate this cultural and religious festival to honor the birth of Jesus Christ, the founder and the spiritual leader of Christianity. This is a sacred religious and cultural festival, a public holiday, and also a commercial phenomenon at present.
The name Christmas comes from Cristes maesse, which means Christ’s Mass. This refers to the Catholic tradition of having special masses to celebrate Christ’s birthday. This festival is celebrated by Protestants and Catholics on December 25th, while Orthodox and Coptic Christians celebrate it on January 7th. On this day, people share gifts, go to churches, decorate Christmas trees, and wait for Santa Claus.
The date December 25th was chosen three and a half centuries after Christ’s birth. In 350 AD, Pope Julius 1 selected the date. This date was selected since it coincided with the pagan festivals that celebrate the winter solstice, which generally falls on December 21 or 22nd. It was believed that after this day, the sun grew brighter day by day, and it symbolizes the way the Christ child developed from infant to immortal.
On this day, Santa Claus brings gifts to children. This figure is connected with a Christian saint named Saint Nicholas, who was kind-hearted and helped needy children. His honorary day was December 6th, and later Dutch immigrants who called him Sint Nikolaas brought this cultural tradition to the United States with them.
What is the Difference Between New Year and Christmas?
The key difference between New Year and Christmas is that New Year’s day celebrates the end of a calendar year and the beginning of a new one, while Christmas is a religious festival celebrated on December 25th to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.
Below is a summary of the difference between New Year and Christmas in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – New Year vs Christmas
Christmas is December 25th, the day that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. On this religious and cultural day, people spend time with their families by going to churches, enjoying special food, sharing Christmas gifts, and decorating Christmas trees. Meanwhile, New Year is the first day of the modern Georgian calendar and the Julian calendar. People celebrate that day by counting down the time to the dawn of the New Year, enjoying fireworks, and attending parties where they drink alcoholic beverages, dance, and have fun. They also plan the oncoming new year by having new year resolutions, which make their lives more organized and healthy. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between New Year and Christmas.
1. “Victoria Harbour Fireworks Display (6834868007)” By Michael Elleray from England, United Kingdom – Victoria Harbour Fireworks Display (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Lighted Christmas Tree” (CC0) via Pexels