New Year’s Day is a holiday in Jamaica as part of celebrations that start 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.
Like in most other countries of the world, 1 January is a public holiday in Jamaica, and 31 December is celebrated as the run up to the arrival of a new year.
New Year’s Eve is a time to party and spend with family. Firecrackers have been outlawed due to the frequent injury of children by them, but Jamaicans continue to use them nonetheless. You’ll hear and see firecrackers, called “clappas”, going off all night, and many also attend professional fireworks shows. The show over the harbour at Ocean Boulevard in Kingston is among the most popular.
Some also attend special New Year’s Eve balls, but due to their expensive nature these days, it’s a special occasion only and not normally an annual one.
One traditional activity is to make sure that dirty laundry is cleaned before the new year begins. It’s considered a shame to begin the year with old, dirty clothes still unwashed!
Finally, some attend watch night services on New Year’s Eve to welcome the new year at church or go to church sometime on New Year’s Day even though they are busy with a lot of other activities as well.