With 2021 fast approaching, people are curious as to which is the first island to celebrate New Year. Let’s find out and settle that dinnertime Zoom argument some of you are surely having.
The first places on the globe to celebrate the New Year are the small Pacific island nations of Tonga, Samoa and Kiribati island. They celebrate the New Year as the clock strikes 10am in London.
Around 15 minutes after that, New Zealand welcomes in the new year, while Baker island is be the last part of the world to step into 2021, just after North and South America.
How will Tonga be celebrating the New Year?
Tonga is a devoutly Christian country, so, if not for the covid pandemic, many locals would be celebrating the new year by going to church. The first week of the new year is known as Uike Lotu (prayer week), with church services taking place twice a day, in the morning and in the evening.
After the New Year has been rung in, the island’s inhabitants can usually be seen walking around embracing and kissing their families while the younger generations can be heard firing off bamboo cannons.
The start of January is the hottest time of the year in Tonga and many families can be found soaking up the sun on the beaches. Traditional island food is usually baked in an Umu (underground oven). These dishes may include lu pulu, consisting of beef, onion and coconut milk wrapped in taro leaves and desserts such as faikakai (caramel dumplings).
For the inhabitants of Tonga, it is a great privilege to be the first to welcome in the New Year and be the first to give their prayers for Thanksgiving.