Iraq celebrates New Year’s Day with a public holiday every 1 January, as does most of the rest of the world. However, the celebrations really begin on New Year’s Eve and reach a high point with the turning of the clock from 11:59pm on 31 December to midnight on 1 January.
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New Year’s Day is a time of resolutions and starting fresh for some, while for others it is spent recovering from a big, late night spent with friends and family.
In Iraq, both Islamic New Year and 1 January New Year’s Day are public holidays. The Islamic new year constantly shifts dates, by 11 days per year, relative to the Gregorian Calendar. Kurds in northern Iraq also celebrate Novruz, a traditional Persian spring festival as an additional New Year’s Day.
These days, Iraqis often celebrate New Year’s Eve much as Westerners do. However, it is often called “Christian” New Year’s Day even though it really isn’t a religious holiday in Western countries. Throughout Iraq, there will be late-night parties on 31 December, and young people will often get out into the streets to shout like crazy when midnight finally arrives.
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