New Year's Day
|New Year's Day|
Fireworks in Mexico City at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day, 2013
|Observed by||Users of the Gregorian calendar|
|Significance||The first day of the Gregorian year|
|Celebrations||Making New Year's resolutions, church services, parades, sporting events, fireworks|
|Next time||January 1, 2018|
|Related to||New Year's Eve, Christmastide|
New Year's Day, also called simply New Year's or New Year, is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar. In pre-Christian Rome under the Julian calendar, the day was dedicated to Janus, god of gateways and beginnings, for whom January is also named. As a date in the Gregorian calendar of Christendom, New Year's Day liturgically marked the Feast of the Naming and Circumcision of Jesus, which is still observed as such in the Anglican Church and Lutheran Church. In present day, with most countries now using the Gregorian calendar as their de facto calendar, New Year's Day is probably the most celebrated public holiday, often observed with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts in each time zone. Other global New Years' Day traditions include making New Year's resolutions and calling one's friends and family.
- 1 History
- 2 New Year's Days in other calendars
- 3 Traditional and modern celebrations and customs
- 4 Other celebrations on January 1
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Mesopotamia (Iraq) instituted the concept of celebrating the new year in 2000 BC, celebrated new year around the time of the vernal equinox, in mid-March. The early Roman calendar designated March 1 as the new year. The calendar had just ten months, beginning with March. That the new year once began with the month of March is still reflected in some of the names of the months. September through December, our ninth through twelfth months, were originally positioned as the seventh through tenth months (septem is Latin for "seven," octo is "eight," novem is "nine," and decem is "ten.")
The first time the new year was celebrated on January 1 was in Rome in 153 BC (In fact, the month of January did not even exist until around 700 BC, when the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius, added the months of January and February.) The new year was moved from March to January because that was the beginning of the civil year, the month that the two newly elected Roman consuls (the highest officials in the Roman republic) began their one-year tenure. But this new year date was not always strictly and widely observed, and the new year was still sometimes celebrated on March 1.
In 46 BC Julius Caesar extended the year to 445 days (annus confusionis). The normal number of 355 days had already been increased by the addition of the ordinary 23 days, inserted after February 23. As many as 67 days, divided into two menses intercalares, were now interposed between November and December. This year thus consisted of 15 months. After this “year of confusion,” the new calendar really started. Since 153 BC, January 1 was the day new consuls in Rome took office and Romans had commonly used the name of the two consuls to identify a specific year in question. Thus, by officially making January 1 start the New Year, it simply lined up with the consular year. One proposed reason for this switch is that January is thought by most to have been named after the god of transitions and beginnings, Janus, during the reign of the second King of Rome, Numa Pompilius, who lived from 753–673 BC. Thus, it was naturally enough for the Romans to eventually decide to make the switch. However, whether this is the reason or not is very much up for debate. There is no consensus on the question. After Julius Caesar reformed the calendar in 46 BC as the Julian Calendar and was subsequently murdered, the Roman Senate voted to deify him on 1 January 42 BC, in honor of his life and his institution of the new rationalized calendar. Dates in March, coinciding with the March Equinox, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of Jesus Christ, or other Christian feasts were used throughout the Middle Ages as the first day of the new year, although their calendars nonetheless often continued to display the months in columns running from January to December.
In 567 AD the Council of Tours abolished January 1 as the beginning of the year. At various times and in various places throughout medieval Christian Europe, the new year was celebrated on Dec. 25, the birth of Jesus; March 1; March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation; and Easter.
Among the 7th century pagans of Flanders and the Netherlands, it was the custom to exchange gifts on the first day of the new year. This custom was deplored by Saint Eligius (died 659 or 660), who warned the Flemish and Dutch: "(Do not) make vetulas, [little figures of the Old Woman], little deer or iotticos or set tables [for the house-elf, compare Puck] at night or exchange New Year gifts or supply superfluous drinks [another Yule custom]." However, on the date that European Christians celebrated the New Year, they exchanged Christmas presents because New Years' Day fell within the twelve days of the Christmas season in the Western Christian liturgical calendar; the custom of exchanging Christmas gifts in a Christian context is traced back to the Biblical Magi who gave gifts to the Child Jesus.
Because of the leap year error in the Julian calendar, the date of Easter had drifted backward since the First Council of Nicaea decided the computation of the date of Easter in 325. By the sixteenth century, the drift from the observed equinox had become unacceptable. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII declared the Gregorian calendar widely used today, correcting the error by a deletion of 10 days. The Gregorian calendar reform also (in effect) restored January 1 as New Year's Day. Although most Catholic countries adopted the Gregorian calendar almost immediately, it was only gradually adopted among Protestant countries. The British, for example, did not adopt the reformed calendar until 1752. Until then, the British Empire – and its American colonies – still celebrated the new year on 25 March.
Most nations of Western Europe officially adopted 1 January as New Year's Day somewhat before they adopted the Gregorian Calendar. In Tudor England, New Years Day, along with Christmas Day and Twelfth Night, was celebrated as one of three main festivities among the twelve days of Christmastide. There, until the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar in 1752, the first day of the new year was the Western Christian Feast of the Annunciation, on 25 March, also called "Lady Day". Dates predicated on the year beginning on 25 March became known as Annunciation Style dates, while dates of the Gregorian Calendar commencing on 1 January were distinguished as Circumcision Style dates, because this was the date of the Feast of the Circumcision, the observed memorial of the eighth day of Jesus Christ's life after his birth, counted from the latter's observation on Christmas, 25 December. Pope Gregory acknowledged 1 January as the beginning of the new year according to his reform of the Catholic Liturgical Calendar.
New Year's Days in other calendars
In cultures which traditionally or currently use calendars other than the Gregorian, New Year's Day is often also an important celebration. Some countries concurrently use the Gregorian and another calendar. New Year's Day in the alternative calendar attracts alternative celebrations of that new year:
- Ethiopian New Year called Enkutatash. It is celebrated on September 11 (September 12 in leap years). Ethiopia uses its own ancient calendar, which was based on the Julian calendar. The new year is the end of the summer rainy season.
- The Odunde Festival is also called the "African New Year" is celebrated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States on the second Sunday of June. While the name was based on the Yoruba African culture, its celebration marks the largest African celebration in the world, which more or less was started by a local tradition.
- Chinese New Year is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is the first day of the lunar calendar and is corrected for the solar every three years. The holiday normally falls between January 20 and February 20. The holiday is celebrated with food, families, lucky money (usually in a red envelope), and many other red things for good luck. Lion and dragon dances, drums, fireworks, firecrackers, and other types of entertainment fill the streets on this day.
- Vietnamese New Year (Tết Nguyên Đán or Tết), more commonly known by its shortened name Tết or "Vietnamese Lunar New Year", is the most important and popular holiday and festival in Vietnam, the holiday normally falls between 20 January and 20 February. It is the Vietnamese New Year marking the arrival of spring based on the Chinese calendar, a lunisolar calendar. The name Tết Nguyên Đán is Sino-Vietnamese for Feast of the First Morning, derived from the Hán nôm characters 節 元 旦.
- Japanese New Year is celebrated on January 1 because the Gregorian calendar is now used instead of the Chinese calendar.
- Korean New Year, called Seollal (설날), is the first day of the lunar calendar. Koreans also celebrate solar New Year's Day on January 1 each year, following the Gregorian Calendar. New Year's Day is a national holiday, so people get the day off while they have a minimum of three days off on Lunar New Year. Koreans celebrate New Year's Day by preparing food for their ancestors' spirits, visiting ancestors' graves, and playing Korean games such as Yunnori (윷놀이) with families. Young children give respect to their parents, grandparents, relatives, and other elders by bowing down in a traditional way and are given good wishes and some money by the elders. Families enjoy the New Year also by counting down until 12:00 am on New Year's Eve.
- Cambodian New Year (Chaul Chnam Thmey) is celebrated on April 13 or April 14. There are three days for the Khmer New Year: the first day is called "Moha Songkran", the second is called "Virak Wanabat" and the final day is called "Virak Loeurng Sak". During these periods, Cambodians often go to pagoda or play traditional games. Phnom Penh is usually quiet during Khmer New Year as most of the Cambodians prefer spending it at their respective hometowns.
- Thai New Year is celebrated on April 13 or April 14 and is called Songkran in the local language. People usually come out to splash water on one another. The throwing of water originated as a blessing. By capturing the water after it had been poured over the Buddhas for cleansing, this "blessed" water is gently poured on the shoulder of elders and family for good fortune.
- Christians in India celebrate January 1 as the New Year according to the Gregorian calendar. Catholic Christians also celebrate January 1 as The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, the liturgical feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
- Diwali related New Years celebrations include Marwari New Year and Gujrati New Year.
- Indian New Year's days has several variations depending on the region and is based on the Hindu calendar.
- Hindu In Hinduism, different regional cultures celebrate new year at different times of the year. In Assam, Bengal, Kerala, Nepal, Odisha, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, households celebrate the new year when the Sun enters Aries on the Hindu calendar. This is normally on April 14 or April 15, depending on the leap year. Elsewhere in northern/central India, the Vikram Samvat calendar is followed. According to that the new year day is the first day of the Chaitra Month, also known as Chaitra Shukla Pratipada or Gudi Padwa. This basically is the first month of the Hindu calendar, the first shukla paksha (fortnight) and the first day. This normally comes around March 23–24, mostly around the Spring Equinox in Gregorian Calendar. The new year is celebrated by paying respect to elders in the family and by seeking their blessings. They also exchange tokens of good wishes for a healthy and prosperous year ahead.
- Malayalam New Year (Puthuvarsham) is celebrated either on the first day of the month of Medam in mid-April which is known as Vishu or the first day of the month of Chingam, in the Malayalam Calendar in mid-August according to another reckoning. Unlike most other calendar systems in India, the New Year's Day on the Malayalam Calendar is not based on any astronomical event. It is just the first day of the first of the twelve months on the Malayalam Calendar. The Malayalam Calendar (called Kollavarsham) originated in 825 CE, based on general agreement among scholars, with the re-opening of the city of Kollam (on Malabar Coast), which had been destroyed by a natural disaster.
- Nepal Sambat is the Nepalese New Year celebration, which also coincides with the Diwali festival.
- The Sikh New Year is celebrated as per the Nanakshahi calendar. The epoch of this calendar is the birth of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak in 1469. New Year's Day falls annually on what is March 14 in the Gregorian Western calendar.
- Sinhalese New Year is celebrated in Sri Lankan culture predominantly by the Sri Lankan Sinhalese, while the Tamil New Year on the same day is celebrated by Sri Lankan Tamils. The Sinhalese New Year (aluth avurudda), marks the end of harvest season, by the month of Bak (April) between April 13 and April 14. There is an astrologically generated time gap between the passing year and the New Year, which is based on the passing of the sun from the Meena Rashiya (House of Pisces) to the Mesha Rashiya (House of Aries) in the celestial sphere. The astrological time difference between the New Year and the passing year (nonagathe) is celebrated with several Buddhist rituals and customs that are to be concentrated on, which are exclusive of all types of 'work'. After Buddhist rituals and traditions are attended to, Sinhala and Tamil New Year-based social gatherings and festive parties with the aid of firecrackers, and fireworks would be organized. The exchange of gifts, cleanliness, the lighting of the oil lamp, making kiribath (Milk rice), and even the Asian Koel are significant aspects of the Sinhalese New Year.
- Tamil New Year (Puthandu) is celebrated on April 13 or April 14. Traditionally, it is celebrated as Chiththirai Thirunaal in parts of Tamil Nadu to mark the event of the Sun entering Aries. Panchangam (almanac), is read in temples to mark the start of the Year.
- Telugu New Year (Ugadi), Kannada New Year (Yugadi) is celebrated in March (generally), April (occasionally). Traditionally, it is celebrated as Chaitram Chaitra Shuddha Padyami in parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to mark the event of New Year's Day for the people of the Deccan region of India. It falls on a different day every year because the Hindu calendar is a lunisolar calendar. The Saka calendar begins with the month of Chaitra (March–April) and Ugadi/Yugadi marks the first day of the new year. Chaitra is the first month in Panchanga which is the Indian calendar. Panchangam (almanac), is read in temples to mark the start of the Year.
- In the Gwaun Valley, Pembrokeshire, Wales the new year is celebrated on January 13, based on the Julian calendar. See New Year celebrations in Gwaun Valley.
- Hijri New Year in the Islamic culture is also known as Islamic new year (Arabic: رأس السنة الهجرية Ras as-Sanah al-Hijriyah) is the day that marks the beginning of a new Islamic calendar year. New Year moves from year to year because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. The first day of the year is observed on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar.
- Nowruz also known as Persian New Year marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in Iranian calendar. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed. Nowruz has been celebrated for over 3,000 years by the related cultural continent. The holiday is also celebrated and observed by many parts of Central Asia, South Asia, Northwestern China, Crimea and some groups in the Balkans. As well as being a Zoroastrian holiday and having significance amongst the Zoroastrian ancestors of modern Iranians, the same time is celebrated in the Indian sub-continent as the new year. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year and Iranian families gather together to observe the rituals.
- Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, is celebrated by Jews in Israel and throughout the world. The date is not set according to the Gregorian calendar, but it always falls during September or October. The holiday is celebrated by religious services and special meals. The night of December 31/January 1, the New Year according to the Gregorian calendar, is also celebrated widely in Israel and is referred to as Sylvester or the civil new year.
Traditional and modern celebrations and customs
New Year's Eve
January 1 represents the fresh start of a new year after a period of remembrance of the passing year, including on radio, television, and in newspapers, which starts in early December in countries around the world. Publications have year-end articles that review the changes during the previous year. In some cases publications may set their entire year work alight in hope that the smoke emitted from the flame brings new life to the company. There are also articles on planned or expected changes in the coming year.
This day is traditionally a religious feast, but since the 1900s has also become an occasion to celebrate the night of December 31, called New Year's Eve. There are fireworks at midnight at the moment the new year arrives (a major one is in Sydney, Australia). Watchnight services are also still observed by many.
- In European countries, the New Year is greeted with private fireworks.
- On New Year's Day, people in certain countries gather on beaches and run into the water to celebrate the new year. In Canada, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Netherlands this is very popular. These events are sometimes known as polar bear plunges, and are sometimes organized by groups to raise money for charity. Polar Bear Clubs in many Northern Hemisphere cities near bodies of water, have a tradition of holding organized plunges on New Year's Day.
- Throughout Great Britain there are many celebrations across the island, particularly in Scotland.
- In London, thousands gather along the Embankment on the River Thames to watch the fireworks around the London Eye. The New Year officially starts when Big Ben strikes twelve.
- In Scotland, there are many unique customs associated with the New Year. These form the Scottish celebration Hogmanay—the Scots name for New Year's Eve. The street party in Princes Street in Edinburgh is one famous example.
- In Wales, Calennig is celebrated, with celebrations attracting thousands of people to the capital, Cardiff.
- In Greece and Cyprus, families and relatives switch off the lights at midnight, then celebrate by cutting the vassilopita (Basil's pie) which usually contains one coin or equivalent. Whoever wins expects luck for the whole year. After the pie, a traditional game of cards called triantaena (31) follows.
- In Nassau, Bahamas, the Junkanoo parade takes place.
- In the Philippines, New Year's is considered part of the Christmas holiday. Noise is made on New Year's Eve with firecrackers and horns (amongst other methods) to dispel evil spirits and to prevent them from bringing bad luck to the coming new year. Tables are laden with food for the Media Noche (midnight meal), and a basket of twelve, different round fruits is displayed to symbolise prosperity in each of the coming twelve months. Public New Year's parties are organised by city governments, and are very well-attended.
- In Russia and the other 14 former republics of the Soviet Union, the celebration of Novi God is greeted by fireworks and drinking champagne. Because religion was suppressed in the Soviet Union the New Year holiday took on many attributes associated with Christmas in other countries, including Christmas trees, Ded Moroz (a variant of Santa Claus) and family celebrations with lavish food and gifts. In Moscow, the president of Russia counts down the final seconds of the "old year". The Kremlin's landmark Spassky Clock Tower chimes in the new year and then the anthem starts. It is customary to make a wish while the Clock chimes. The Old New Year is celebrated on January 13 (equivalent to January 1 in the "old style" Julian calendar). Although not an official holiday, it marks the end of the holiday season and is usually when people take down trees and other decorations.
- In Davos, Switzerland, the final match of the Spengler Cup ice hockey Tournament is usually held on this day by tradition.
- In the United States, it is traditional to spend this occasion together with loved ones. A toast is made to the new year, with kisses, fireworks and parties among the customs. It is popular to make a New Year's resolution, although that is optional. In the country's most famous New Year celebration in New York City, the 11,875-pound (5,386-kg), 12-foot-diameter (3.7-m) Times Square Ball located high above One Times Square is lowered starting at 11:59 pm, with a countdown from sixty seconds until one second, when it reaches the bottom of its tower. The arrival of the new year is announced at the stroke of midnight with fireworks, music and a live celebration that is broadcast worldwide. (Hundreds of local imitations of the ball drop also occur throughout the United States.)
- In France, some regard the weather as the prediction of that year: wind blowing east, fruit will yield; wind blowing west, fish and livestock will be bumper; wind blowing south, there will be good weather all year round and wind blowing north, there will be crop failure. People would like to toast for the new year.
- In Spain, it is customary to have 12 grapes at hand when the clock strikes 12 at midnight. One grape is eaten on each stroke. If all the grapes are eaten within the period of the strikes, it means good luck in the new year.
New Year's Day
The celebrations held world-wide on January 1 as part of New Year's Day commonly include the following:
- American football: In the United States, January 1 is the traditional date for many post-season college football bowl games, which are usually accompanied by parades and other activities to celebrate the events
- Football: In England, a full-fixture programme[clarification needed] is usually played throughout the Premier League
- Ice hockey, most famously the Winter Classic in North America, a National Hockey League game that is played outdoors
- Entertainment, usually enjoyed from the comfort of home
- Family time
- Traditional meals
- Church services
- An annual dip in ice-cold water by hearty individuals, most famously by members of the Polar Bear Club
- in the Southern United States traditional New Years Day menu includes ham, blackeyed peas or Hoppin' John, cabbage, sweet potatoes, and cornbread.
- There is Horse Racing at Cheltenham.
New Year's babies
A common image used, often as an editorial cartoon, is that of an incarnation of Father Time (or the "Old Year") wearing a sash across his chest with the previous year printed on it passing on his duties to the Baby New Year (or the "New Year"), an infant wearing a sash with the new year printed on it.
Babies born on New Year's Day are commonly called New Year babies. Hospitals, such as the Dyersburg Regional Medical Center in the US, give out prizes to the first baby born in that hospital in the new year. These prizes are often donated by local businesses. Prizes may include various baby-related items such as baby formula, baby blankets, diapers, and gift certificates to stores which specialize in baby-related merchandise.
Other celebrations on January 1
The Anglican Church and the Lutheran Church celebrate the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ on January 1, based on the belief that if Jesus was born on December 25, then according to Hebrew tradition, his circumcision would have taken place on the eighth day of his life (January 1). The Roman Catholic Church celebrates on this day the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, which is also a Holy Day of Obligation. In the United States, New Year's Day is a postal holiday.
- Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, BWV 190, 1 January 1724
- Jesu, nun sei gepreiset, BWV 41, 1 January 1725
- Herr Gott, dich loben wir, BWV 16, 1 January 1726
- Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm, BWV 171, 1 January ?1729
- Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben 1 January 1735 (Christmas Oratorio Part IV)
- Mehra, Komal (2006). Festivals Of The World. Sterling Publishers. p. 69. ISBN 9781845575748.
In many European countries like Italy, Portugal and Netherlands, families start the new year by attending church services and then calling on friends and relatives. Italian children receive gifts or money on New Year's Day. People in the United States go to church, give parties and enjoy other forms of entertainment.
- McKim, Donald K. (1996). Dictionary of Theological Terms. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 51. ISBN 0664255116.
- Hobart, John Henry (1840). A Companion for the festivals and fasts of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Stanford & Co. p. 284.
- Brunner, Borgna. "A History of the New Year". Infoplease.com. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Andrews, Evan (31 December 2012). "5 Ancient New Year's Celebrations". History News. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Michels, A.K. The Calendar of the Roman Republic (Princeton, 1967), p. 97-8.
- Warrior, Valerie (2006). Roman Religion. Cambridge University Press. p. 110. ISBN 0-521-82511-3.
- Courtney, G. Et tu Judas, then fall Jesus (iUniverse, Inc 1992), p. 50.
- Quoting the Vita of St. Eligius written by Ouen.
- Forbes, Bruce David (1 October 2008). Christmas: A Candid History. University of California Press. p. 114. ISBN 9780520258020.
Some people referred to New Year's gifts as "Christmas presents" because New Year's Day fell within the twelve days of Christmas, but in spite of the name they still were gifts given on January 1.
- Collins, Ace (4 May 2010). Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas. Harper Collins. p. 88. ISBN 9780310873884.
Most people today trace the practice of giving gifts on Christmas Day to the three gifts that the Magi gave to Jesus.
- Berking, Helmuth (30 March 1999). Sociology of Giving. SAGE Publications. p. 14. ISBN 9780857026132.
The winter solstice was a time of festivity in every traditional culture, and the Christian Christmas probably took its place within this mythical context of the solar cult. Its core dogma of the Incarnation, however, solidly established the giving and receiving of gifts as the structural principle of that recurrent yet unique event. 'Children were given presents as the Jesus child received gifts from the magi or kings who came from afar to adore him. But in reality it was they, together with all their fellow men, who received the gift of God through man's renewed participation in the divine life' (ibid.: 61).
- Sim, Alison (8 November 2011). Pleasures and Pastimes in Tudor England. The History Press. p. 85. ISBN 9780752475783.
Most of the twelve days of Christmas were saint's days, but the main three days for celebration were Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Epiphany, or Twelfth Night.
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- Gregg, Cherri (May 13, 2013). "Oshunbumi Fernandez, Caring Through Culture and Odunde 365". CBS Philadelphia. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
- http://www.sgpc.net/festivals/nanakshahi.asp Nanakshahi Calendar at SGPC.net
- Mintz, Josh (2 January 2012). "The Hypocrisy of Turning New Year's Eve in Israel Into a Nonevent". Haaretz. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
- "Watch Night services provide spiritual way to bring in New Year". The United Methodist Church. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
The service is loosely constructed with singing, spontaneous prayers and testimonials, and readings, including the Covenant Renewal service from The United Methodist Book of Worship (pp. 288–294).
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- "Lucky Foods for the New Year - New Year's Day - Epicurious.com".
- Birx, H. James (2009-01-13). Encyclopedia of Time: Science, Philosophy, Theology, & Culture. Sage Publications. p. 510. ISBN 9781412941648. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
- "DRMC rounds up prizes for New Year's baby, Life Choices". Dyersburg State Gazette. Stategazette.com. 2008-12-31. Retrieved 2012-01-01.
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