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New Year's around the world!

As the clock strikes midnight on December 31, our family and friends all celebrate the beginning of a New Year. But did you know that all around the world, New Year is celebrated earlier (or later) than we celebrate it? This is because we live in different time zones. For example, it might be 3:00pm here on St. Maarten but in Holland that means it's already 8:00pm. This means that in Holland, people celebrate the New Year five hours earlier then we do!

The first place in the world to celebrate New Year's Day is an island called Kiribati, which is also known as Christmas Island. People in Kiribati decorate their houses and look forward to starting fresh. Everyone stays awake till the clock strikes twelve and they hold prayers from mid-night onwards to welcome the New Year and to bid good-bye to the old year. The evenings are spent in having a family meal, playing indoor games, delivering speeches, singing and dancing.

New Year's is spent differently in many places in the world. In Spain, for example, people eat 12 grapes at every toll of the clock during the New Year, believing this will bring good luck and happiness for the coming 12 months. In Puerto Rico, people throw buckets of water out of their window and also clean their homes properly. This, they believe, will clean the odds of the last year as well as get the spirits out of the home.

In Denmark, residents keep a pile of dishes, all broken, in front of the door. For this, they save old dishes, and people usually throw these on the friends' doors during the New Year. This symbolizes friendship and brotherhood and they believe the one, who has the most dishes outside, has the most friends.

Brazilians believe that lentils signify wealth and prosperity. So they serve food items made up of the legume like soup or rice in the New Year. Austrians find good luck charm in suckling pigs. They serve it on the dinner table with edible pigs and the peppermint ice creams are served as desserts for fortune. In China, they even celebrate New Year's on a different date and celebrations last up to two weeks!

One of the last places in the world to celebrate the New Year is Hawaii. During this time, Hawaiians traditionally honoured the earth for giving them plenty to eat. This period of resting and feasting was called Makahiki (mah-kah-HEE-kee). It lasted for four months, and no wars or conflicts were allowed during this time. Hau'oli Makahiki Hou! (Happy New Year!)

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St. Maarten midday Weather Forecast for Saturday
Saturday, 17 October 2015
DATE ISSUED: Saturday, October 17, 2015 @ 12:00 LST (16:00 UTC) VALID UNTIL: Sunday midday (12:00... Read more...
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SHTA poll: Businesses want anti-ship-jumping legislation
Saturday, 17 October 2015
Click here for SHTA graph pdf PHILIPSBURG--The St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association... Read more...
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Dominica’s tourism sector ready to welcome visitors after TS Erika
Friday, 16 October 2015
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Reparations Committee: Withdraw Queens’ names from Suriname’s highest mountains
Thursday, 15 October 2015
PARAMARIBO--Suriname’s National Reparations Committee NRCS has filed a request with President... Read more...
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Ex-US House Speaker Hastert to plead guilty in hush-money case
Friday, 16 October 2015
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Hillary Clinton to 'look hard' at Julian Castro as possible VP pick
Friday, 16 October 2015
WASHINGTON--Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton won the backing of Housing and Urban... Read more...
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Half a million Yemen children face severe malnutrition
Friday, 16 October 2015
GENEVA--More than half a million children in Yemen face life-threatening malnutrition as a risk of... Read more...
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Modi to open 70-year-old files in challenge to Gandhi dynasty
Friday, 16 October 2015
NEW DELHI--Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will seek to unravel one of India's most enduring... Read more...
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Cuba in cash crunch due to low commodity prices, Venezuela woes
Friday, 16 October 2015
HAVANA--Low commodity prices, a drought at home and Venezuela's economic crisis have created a cash... Read more...
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Apple's newest courtroom foe is patent-savvy university
Friday, 16 October 2015
NEW YORK--As a veteran of the global smart phone wars, Apple is used to courtroom battles with... Read more...
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Focus needs to be on fighting crime & helping unemployed
Friday, 16 October 2015
Dear Editor, With all of the political situation on the island, we can't lose focus on some of the... Read more...
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Had enough
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Dear Queenie, My brother died years ago but his widow stayed close to our family. Eventually she... Read more...
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RBC St. Maarten Little League School Tournament
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Nadal trounces Wawrinka, Djokovic tames Tomic
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Junk shop photo spurs quest to confirm Billy the Kid image
Friday, 16 October 2015
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Few signs of improvement for NBA star Odom after collapse
Friday, 16 October 2015
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Bruney cruises into retirement
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ALL HANDS ON DECK, WE MADE IT!
Friday, 16 October 2015
~ Fair Transport Sailing Vessel Nordlys is launched ~   St. Maarten has been graced by the... Read more...
Editorial - Anybody’s guess
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Governor Eugene Holiday has decided to seek legal clarity on the current constitutional impasse.... Read more...
Editorial - Time is up
Friday, 16 October 2015
With so much ongoing constitutional turmoil, the fact that more than 100 people attended the... Read more...
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Saturday Oct. 17, 2015
Friday, 16 October 2015
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Friday Oct. 16, 2015
Friday, 16 October 2015
Notices October 16
Friday, 16 October 2015
General Meeting St. Maarten Professional Softball Association (SMPSA) general meeting for the... Read more...
Notices October 15
Thursday, 15 October 2015
General Meeting S.M.P.S.A. general meeting for the softball season 2016 will be held at Sundial... Read more...