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Greet the New Year

Greet the New Year

Light the Darkness!

All over the world people celebrate the coming of the new year and use this time to both reflect on the past year and light the way to the year ahead.

Here at purple suitcase, we love thinking about the power and symbolism of light… candle light in the dark days of winter, sunlight as the days get longer moving closer to spring, and inner light… taking the time to think about how we can share with others.

One of our favorite books is Celebrations of Light written by Nancy Luenn and illustrated by Mark Bender. It describes and illustrates 12 celebrations of light throughout the world.

“Long ago, people found a way to light the darkness… For thousands of years, people have held festivals of light. Some of these festivals help brighten the winter. Others welcome spring… Throughout the year, lights shine on special days.”

Images from Celebration of Light


Click on the images below to discover more about the festivals and customs.


SWEDEN | Luciadagen {December}
The candlelit Lucia procession takes place on 13 December…


BRAZIL | New Year’s Eve {December–January}
Wearing an outfit that is completely white symbolizing peace and renewal…


CHINA & TAIWAN | New Year {January –February}
Sweeping out the old year…


SIERRA LEONE | Lanterns {January–month varies}
Dancing and singing in the streets together…
Sierra Leone


LUXEMBOURG | Lichtmëssdag {February}
Forty days after Christmas Day…


KOREA | Buddha’s Birthday {April–May}
Lanterns and paper flowers decorate courtyards…


JAPAN | Bon Matsuri {July–August}
Boats drift away, bearing the names of the ancestors…


INDIA | Diwali {October–November}
The Hindu festival of lights…


THAILAND | Loy Krathong {November}
On the fifteenth day of the Twelfth Moon, people give thanks to Me Khongkha, the mother of waters…


Israel | Hanukkah {November–December}
The Jewish festival of lights…


MEXICO & UNITED STATES | Las Posadas {December}
Rows of luminarias line rooftops, walls, and pathways…
Mexico & US


UNITED STATES | Kwanzaa {December–January}
Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba, Imani – the seven principles …

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