Why Did We Start Celebrating The New Year On January 1?
January always feels like getting a clean slate. It's one of things we love about the new year. We set resolutions to be better in a variety of ways and seek renewal of purpose. We take a moment to reflect on the previous year and consider what went well, what didn't, and what we learned that we'd like to incorporate into the next 365 days.
Ever wonder when people started celebrating the New Year the way we do now? Cultures throughout time have celebrated their "new years" on different days. Even now in our time, the Chinese new year is celebrated in late January.
The first recorded festivity in honor of the New Year was a long, long time ago. We're talking 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylon. However, they celebrated on the first full moon that occurred after the vernal equinox. So that means, the Babylonians partied sometime in late March. They believed that, since at that time, there's an equal amount of darkness and light, that was a reasonable start to a "new year."
When did we start celebrating on January 1? The first known record is 45 B.C.E. That's also the first year that the Julian calendar took effect. But that was also before the takeover of the Gregorian calendar that we use today.
If you think about it, I guess we could start our New Year whenever we all decide we'd like to do so. Although officially, I guess we should stick with the first week of January, it's encouraging to know that, no matter what the date on the calendar says, you can start your new year and create a new you whenever you want.
Happy almost 2021, my friend.
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