Although many countries regard the start of the New Year as the 1st of January, this in itself is dependent on the Gregorian calendar and the circumcision of Christ (for Christians). However, for many other countries and cultures the specific date of when the New Year is ushered in differs. The first of January has become a standard that most countries now follow. This was not always the case. Prior to this many countries celebrated New Year’s Day throughout the year and there was no formalised world date system in place that was adopted by every culture. Now most countries rely on the Gregorian calendar.
Many countries used the phase of the moon or harvest timing to delegate their new year. Other countries relied on the date that season changed. As the world economy started moving closer together there needed to be a standard system in which to set deadlines and dates. Having several calendars to contend with was not only confusing, but was also difficult to work with because of the dramatic difference in how time was specified. This is particularly applicable to countries that did not have a specific date set for when the New Year started. Some countries relied on lunar triggers, season changes and harvest festivals. Because there is room for difference in regards to when these events occurred, it was hard to manage time based upon these factors.
Although many countries have adopted the Gregorian calendar they have not aborted their previous traditions (for the most part). For example, the Chinese still celebrate the Chinese New Year. Because the Chinese New Year forms the basis for the Sexagenary cycle it a deeply rooted tradition that relates to the ten heavenly stems. The Chinese New Year is based on a lunar cycle. This in itself has an opportunity to fall on any day between late January and February. The ten heavily stems forms the basis for the Chinese horoscope system. It is an important holiday for the Chinese with fireworks, dumplings and many other festivities.
Of course the New Year starts depending on the time zone of the country in which the country is located. That means you can essentially follow the New Year as the sun rises across the world. It is interesting to note that Caroline Island is the first place in the world that the New Year starts each year. So if you want to be the first to usher in the New Year (following the Gregorian calendar) that is the place to go.