Learn About the History of Celebrating New Years

About the History of Celebrating New Years

Learn how the New Year is celebrated throughout history. 

The New Year has arrived, and it’s time we look toward the year ahead. The New Year brings plenty of opportunities to celebrate all of life’s blessings. However, before we look too far ahead, let’s take a step back to reflect on the history of the New Year. Check out these fun facts about New Year celebrations.

Ancient Civilizations.

Celebrating a New Year dates as far back as 4,000 years ago. The first documentation of civilization celebrating a new year exists in ancient Babylon. The new year was celebrated on the vernal equinox when there were equal amounts of daylight and nighttime.

The Gregorian Calendar.

As Einstein once theorized, time is relative. Therefore, there are various ways to measure time, including using calendars. In modern history, we’ve adopted the Gregorian calendar. Our modern traditions celebrate New Year’s Eve on December 31 and the New Year on January 1.

January 1 & Julius Caesar.

The Romans are to thank for the year beginning on January 1. The first month of the year, January, is named after the Roman god of beginning, Janus. Julius Caesar established the first of the month of January as the New Year to honor Janus.

Introduced around the seventh century B.C., the Roman calendar attempted to follow the lunar cycle but frequently fell out of phase with the seasons and had to be corrected. In addition, the pontifices, the Roman body charged with overseeing the calendar, often abused its authority by adding days to extend political terms or interfere with elections.

In designing his new calendar, Caesar enlisted the aid of Sosigenes, an Alexandrian astronomer, who advised him to do away with the lunar cycle entirely and follow the solar year, as did the Egyptians. The year was calculated to be 365 and 1/4 days, and Caesar added 67 days to 45 B.C., making 46 B.C. begin on January 1, rather than in March. He also decreed that every four years a day be added to February, thus theoretically keeping his calendar from falling out of step.

Join us in celebrate the New Year by staying informed. Tune into The Maria Sanchez Show as we discuss our latest program, Shadow Politics with Senator Michael D. Brown. Tune in on Sundays at 4:00 p.m. PST/7:00 p.m. EST.

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