Many of us send greetings cards to celebrate special occasions like anniversaries, birthdays and weddings, as well as national holidays like Christmas.
But — until recently — we haven’t always marked the New Year celebrations in the same way.
People who belong to some cultures have always sent cards to friends and family at this time of year, however.
For example, in Central European countries — such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia — people have sent New Year cards since at least the 19th-century.
The cards often bear the letters P.F. on the front, standing for the French phrase “pour féliciter”, which means “to congratulate”.
This phrase isn’t commonly used on greetings cards in France. It goes back to a time when French was used as a language of international communication in Europe.
In East Asia, New Year is also celebrated by the giving of gifts and greetings cards, sometimes stuffed with money.
Chinese New Year — which takes place around a month after the Western world celebrates New Year — is one of the most important national holidays in China.
It commemorates the end of the winter season and the beginning of spring.
In fact, it is officially called Spring Festival in the People’s Republic of China.
At this time, people will set off firecrackers and fireworks, while also dressing in red clothes and decorating their houses with red lanterns to ward off bad luck.
In 2021, Chinese New Year will be celebrated on 12 February, which is a Friday, allowing festivities to continue into the weekend.
By a strange stroke of coincidence, 1 January — the date that New Year is celebrated in the West — will also fall on a Friday in 2021.
The risk of COVID-19 infections are big concern in many parts of the world, but case numbers have now dropped dramatically in China, so people will be able to celebrate without many more restrictions than at usual times.
In Europe and America, this will not be the case. Many of us will stay at home to protect our loved ones from the disease.
So why don’t you send some New Year cards to show that you care? This year it would be appreciated more than ever.