The first day of Hijra, or Islamic New Year, coincides with the first day of Muharram, which is the first month of the Islamic calendar.
The first year of the Islamic calendar started in the year of the Hijra, which was the migration of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina. During the Hijra Day observances Muslims gather in mosques for prayers of peace, and listen to holy readings from the Quran. The day is usually spent in reflection of one’s mortality and the passing of time, as well as honoring the Prophet Muhammad. These celebrations are quiet, unlike secular New Year’s festivities, but among some younger Muslims there is a trend now to exchange New Year’s cards and gifts.
In Brunei, evening celebrations are held at the Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah, the nation’s largest mosque – whose 4 terrazzo-tiled minarets are an iconic landmark of Bandar Seri Begawan – where the doa for the end of the year and the beginning of the new year are read.