Shishu Sansaar | Interesting to Know
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|7-1-New Year Greetings|
7-1-New Year Greetings
"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 Year's Day in modern times was not always the January 1st.
The celebration of the new year is thought to be the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago in an 11 day celebration celebrating the first New Moon (actually the first visible crescent) after the Vernal Equinox (first day of spring). While modern resolutions might include the promise to lose weight or quit smoking, the early Babylonian's most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment.
The Ancient Hebrews celebrated the first Rosh Hashana (Head of the Year) more than 3300 years ago in a combined joyous but contemplative state in a 2 day celebration during the New moon in the Fall. To many, the period after summer, or school starting, of re-energized works seems the most logical time of a new beginning.
And the Chinese, Koreans and others in East Asia celebrate the lunar New Year in the February / March time period often for a 2 week celebration, where most go to their ancestral villages to connect to their ancestors.
The Romans continued to observe the 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. In order to set the calendar right, the Roman senate, declared January 1st to be the beginning of the new year. But tampering continued until Julius Caesar established what has come to be known as the Julian Calendar. It again established January 1st 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.
Although in the first centuries the Romans continued celebrating the new
year, the early 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.
During the Middle Ages, the Church remained opposed to celebrating the New
Year, which is why January 1st has been celebrated as a holiday by Western
nations for only about the past 400 years.
Celebration of New Year in Different Countries
USA, Flagstaff, AZ
USA, New York, NY
Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 06/12/13