The New Year

Learn about New Year Traditions in the United States

In the United States, people begin to celebrate the New Year on December 31st, New Year’s Eve. Families and friends gather to share a meal and “ring in” the New Year, often with a toast and a song. Americans also enjoy the tradition of watching the New Year’s festivities at Times Square (New York City) which are broadcast on TV. New Year’s Day (January 1st) is a national holiday in the United States.

A popular American tradition is making New Year’s resolutions, when people promise to do something better in the year to come. Some even write down their New Year’s resolutions and share them with their friends. The New Year is a celebration in many other cultures too, although it does not always take place at the same time.

How do people celebrate the New Year where you live? Do you make New Year’s resolutions?

This publication describes the New Year’s traditions in the United States:
Celebrate! Holidays in the USA– New Year's Eve

Classroom Activities

Activity 1 (intermediate learners):
Read the “New Year’s Resolutions” text with your students, and discuss the main ideas of the article: the historical background, the idea of having New Year’s resolutions, and the examples discussed in the article. Conclude the lesson by asking students what their resolutions would be.

Activity 2 (advanced learners):
Ask your students to pick one tradition from either the Voice Of America “New Year’s Traditions” podcast or the “Chinese New Year” reading, and have them do research about it and then share their ideas about that tradition, including its similarities to or differences from their own culture.

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