…but for what reason? Happy New Year! That greeting will be said and heard for at least the first couple of weeks as a New Year gets under way.But the day celebrated as New Years in modern America was not always January 1.
The celebration of the New Year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. In the years around 2000 BC, the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon.
T he beginning of spring is a logical time to start New Year. After all, its the season of rebirth, of planting new crops, and of blossoming. January 1,on the one hand, has no astronomical nor agricultural significance. It is purely arbitrary.
T he Babylonian New Year celebration lasted for 11 days. Each day had it own particular mode of celebration, but it is safe to say that modern New Years Eve festivities pale in comparison. T he Romans continued to observe New Year in late March, but their calendar was continually tampered with by various emperors so that the calendar soon became out of synchronization with the sun.
I n order to set the calendar right, the Roman Senate,in 153 BC, declared January to be the beginning of the New Year. But tampering continued until Julius Caesar, in 46 BC, established what has come to be known as the Julian Calendar. It again established January 1 as the New Year. But in order to synchronize the calendar with the sun, Caesar had to let the previous year drag on for 445 days.
A lthough in the first centuries AD the Romans continued celebrating the New Year, the early catholic church condemned the festivities as paganism. But as Christianity became more widespread, the early church began having its own religious observances concurrently with many of the pagan celebrations.
D uring the Middle ages, the Church remained opposed To celebrating New Years. January 1 has been celebrated As a holiday by Western nations for only about the past 400 years.
O ther traditions of the season include making New Years resolutions. That tradition also dates back to the early Babylonians. Popular modern resolutions might include the promise to lose weight or quit smoking. The early Babylonians most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment.
T he Tournament of Roses Parade dates back to In that year, members of the Valley Hunt Club decorated their carriages with flowers. It celebrated the repining of the orange crop in California. A lthough the Rose Bowl football game Was first played as a part of the Tournament of Roses in 1902, it was replaced by Roman chariot races the following year. In 1916, the football game Returned as the sports centerpiece of the Festival.
T he tradition of using a baby to signify the New Year was begun in Greece around 600BC. It was their tradition at that time to celebrate their god of wine, Dionysus, by parading a baby in a basket, representing the annual rebirth of that god as the symbol of fertility. Early Egyptians also used a baby as a symbol of rebirth.
A lthough the early Christians denounced the practice as pagan, the popularity of the baby as a symbol of rebirth forced the Church to reevaluate its position. The Church finally allowed its members to celebrate the New Year with a baby, which was to symbolize the birth of the baby Jesus.
T raditionally, it was thought that one could affect The luck they would have throughout the coming year by what they did or ate in the first day of the year. For that reason, it has become common for Folks to celebrate the first few minutes of a brand new year in the company of family and friends.
P arties often last into the middle of the night after the ringing in of a new year. It was once believed that the first visitor on New Years Day would bring either good luck or bad luck in the rest of the year. It was particularly lucky that the visitor happened to be a tall dark-haired man.
T raditional New Year foods are also thought to bring luck. Many cultures believe that anything in the shape of a ring is good luck, because it symbolizes coming full circle, completing a years cycle. For that reason, the Dutch believe that eating donuts on New Years Day will bring good fortune.
M any parts of the U.S. celebrate the New Year by consuming black-eyed peas. These legumes are typically accompanied by either hog jowls or ham. Black-eyed peas and other legumes have been considered good- luck in many cultures. The hog, and thus its meat, is considered lucky because it symbolizes prosperity. Cabbage is another good-luck vegetable that is consumed on New Years Day by many. Cabbage leaves are also considered a sign of prosperity, being representative of paper currency. In some regions, rice is a lucky food that is eaten on New Years Day.
T he song Auld Lang Syne, playing at the background is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the New Year.
A t least partially written by Robert Burns in the 1700s, it was first published in 1796 after Burns death. Early variations of the song were sung prior to 1700 and inspired Burns to produce the modern rendition. An old Scotch tune, Auld Lang Syne literally means old long ago, or simply, the good old days.
I n Europe the custom of first-footing is practised. This is where the first person to enter the house after midnight must be male and is supposed to bring good luck to the household. The visitor is supposed to bring a gift such as money, bread, or coal, these are supposed to ensure the family will have plenty of these in the coming year I n Europe the custom of first-footing is practised. This is where the first person to enter the house after midnight must be male and is supposed to bring good luck to the household. The visitor is supposed to bring a gift such as money, bread, or coal, these are supposed to ensure the family will have plenty of these in the coming year.
T hroughout the world the custom of making noise to ring in the New Year has not gone untouched as this was supposed to scare off any evil spirits. Today any noise is used such as clackers, toy trumpets, whistles, and bells are party favors given to guests to use when the New Year has rung in. In Macedonia bells ring in the New Year. In Europe the New Year was a time for superstition and fortune-telling.