Northern Mariana Islands 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.
As an overseas commonwealth of the United States, Northern Mariana Islands (NMI) adheres to much the same holiday calendar as does the USA. They observe 1 January as New Year’s Day along with most other nations around the world.
There are many elements to a “complete” new year’s celebration in NMI. Fireworks, resolutions, good luck strategies, cleaning the house, wearing new clothes, attending church services, and greeting everyone with a thunderous “Happy New Year!” come to mind.
But the food is certainly central to celebrations, called “gupot” or fiestas, in NMI culture. Here you find a mix of culinary traditions from many sources. New year’s feasts are likely to include empanadas, pancit noodle dishes, NMI’s distinctive red rice, locally caught fish and seafood, and locally grown fruits like breadfruit, mango, and bilimbi.
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