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7-1-New Year Greetings

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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.
[Jan 6, 2010]

Celebration of New Year in Different Countries
Denmark
In Denmark, old dishes are saved throughout the year to throw at the front door of friend's house on New Year's Eve. Many broken dishes show that you have many friends.

Spain
Spaniards traditionally eat 12 grapes at midnight - one for each month of the new year. The tradition began in 1909 as a way to consume the grape surplus in the Alicante region.

USA, Flagstaff, AZ
In Arizona, in its Flagstaff city, the New Year celebration is made by dropping a pine cone. The historic Hotel Weatherford is the site of the Pine Cone Drop in Flagstaff, Arizona. The first one was held in 1999 with a pine cone made from an aluminum garbage can. Needless to say, the pine cone has been seriously upgraded since then; itís now five feet by seven feet and made of gold and silver aluminum. Each December 31 at midnight, the peculiar pine cone is dropped from the balcony of the hotel while thousands of people watch, waiting for its descent to signal the start of the new year.

USA, New York, NY
Here a ball is dropped to mark the New Year celebration in Times Square on the night of 31st December. Read about it in detail here.

 

 

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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Contact:  sushmajee@yahoo.com
Modified on 06/12/13