Islamic New Year 2023: What Do Muslims Celebrate?

CC BY-SA 2.0 / Shiraz Chakera / The Abuja National Mosque
The Abuja National Mosque - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 19.07.2023
In Islam, there is no tradition of celebrating the New Year from December 31 to January 1. Instead, Muslims have their own tradition of calendar, which has no fixed date for New Year and carries significant historical and religious value.
The Islamic New Year is celebrated in honor of the Prophet Muhammad's migration from Mecca to Madinah in 622 AD. This trip later came to be known as the Hijrah and the New Year as the Hijri.
Following the Hijrah, Muhammad proclaimed that Muslims are a universal brotherhood with a unique distinctive identity in faith and ideology.

Umar ibn Al-Khattab, a close ally of the Prophet Muhammad, subsequently adopted the Hijra as the point of reference for the Islamic calendar.

This day ushers in the first month of the Muslim calendar, which Muslims refer to as Muharram, the second most holy month of the Islamic year after Ramadan.
In 2023, the Islamic New Year falls on July 19. According to their calendar, Muslims welcome the year 1445.
The date of the New Year in Islam changes every year due to the use of the lunar calendar which works on the cycles of the moon, unlike the Gregorian Calendar which works on the rotation and revolution of the earth around the Sun.

The Muslim calendar has 12 lunar months – a new month begins when a new Moon is sighted. This calendar is only 354 days long; compared to Western calendars, the Islamic year is about 11 days behind each year.

Some Islamic countries prefer to determine the new Moon (and thus the New Year) by local observations, while others, such as Saudi Arabia, resort to astronomical calculations.
Muharram also marks the anniversary of the battle of Karbala, where the Islamic prophet Muhammad's grandson Imam Hussain Ibn Ali was killed.
Верующие мусульмане приветствуют друг друга после утренней молитвы по случаю праздника Курбан-Байрам в исторической мечети Азхар в центре Каира, Египет - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 28.06.2023
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Holiday Traditions

Unlike the secular New Near, Muharram is not a time for flashy (or fireworks-filled) merrymaking. For those who observe it, the Hijrah New Year is an annual reminder of the passage of time, the long history of Islam, and the resilience of the Muslim people.
Islamic traditions for celebrating the New Year may differ from culture to culture and country to country. However, the essence of each tradition remains the same.
On this day, it is customary for the Muslim community around the world to pray, seek forgiveness from Allah, honor the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, help the poor and fast.

For Muslim communities in Africa, the start of the New Year was marked by celebratory events, including gatherings at mosques, prayers, and feasts among families and friends, while the leaders called for unity and peace.

In multi-religious Nigeria, Northern Christian clerics expressed their heartfelt wishes to Muslims in the 36 states of the federation as well as other countries in Africa and the Arab world and emphasized the importance of promoting peaceful coexistence and religious tolerance between Muslims and Christians.
In addition, ten Nigeria's States have declared Wednesday, July 19, as a public holiday to celebrate the Islamic New Year.
Niger's government acted in the same vein, extending the non-working day in honor of the holiday to the entire country, a move to "recognize and respect the religious and cultural importance of the Islamic New Year."