New Year’s Day


New Year’s Day is the first day of the new year. On the modern Gregorian calendar, it is celebrated on January 1, as it was also in ancient Rome (though other dates were also used in Rome). In all countries using the Gregorian calendar as their main calendar, except for Israel, it is a public holiday,[citation needed] often celebrated with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts. January 1 on the Julian calendar corresponds to January 14 on the Gregorian calendar, and it is on that date that followers of some of the Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate the New Year.

Happy New Year

Modern practices

January 1 marks the end of a period of remembrance of a particular passing year, especially on radio, television, and in newspapers, which usually starts right after Christmas Day. Publications often have year-end articles that review the changes during the previous year. Common topics include politics, natural disasters, music and the arts, and the listing of significant individuals who died during the past year. Often there are also articles on planned or expected changes in the coming year, such as the description of new laws that often take effect on January 1.

This day is traditionally a religious feast, but since the 1900s has become an occasion for celebration the night of December 31, called New Year’s Eve. There are often fireworks at midnight. Depending on the country, individuals may be legally allowed to burn fireworks, even if it’s usually outlawed the rest of the year.

It is also customary to make New Year’s resolutions, which individuals hope to fulfil in the coming year. The most popular resolutions in the Western world include to quit tobacco smoking, stop excessive drinking of alcohol, lose weight, and get physically fit.

History

Probably observed on March 1 in the old Roman Calendar, New Year’s Day was fixed on January 1 by the period of the Late Republic. Some have suggested this occurred in 153 BC, when it was stipulated that the two annual consuls (after whose names the years were identified) entered into office on that day, though no consensus exists on the matter.[2] Dates in March, coinciding with the spring equinox, or commemorating the Annunciation of Jesus, along with a variety of Christian feast dates were used throughout the Middle Ages, though calendars often continued to display the months in columns running from January to December

Among the 7th-century pagans of Flanders and the Netherlands, it was the custom to exchange gifts at the New Year, a pagan custom deplored by Saint Eligius (died 659 or 660), who warned the Flemings and Dutchmen, “[Do not] make vetulas, [little figures of the Old Woman], little deer or iotticos or set tables [for the house-elf, compare Puck] at night or exchange New Year gifts or supply superfluous drinks [another Yule custom].” The quote is from the vita of Eligius written by his companion, Ouen.

Most countries in Western Europe officially adopted January 1 as New Year’s Day somewhat before they adopted the Gregorian calendar. In England, the Feast of the Annunciation on 25 March, was the first day of the new year until the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar in 1752. The 25 March date was known as Annunciation Style; the 1 January date was known as Circumcision Style, because this was the date of the Feast of the Circumcision, being the eighth day counting from December 25.

New Year’s Days in other calendars

In cultures which traditionally or currently use calendars other than the Gregorian, New Year’s Day is often also an important celebration. Some countries concurrently use the Gregorian and another calendar. New Year’s Day in the alternative calendar often attracts more elaborate celebrations than the Gregorian New year.

Other celebrations on 1 January

Some churches celebrate the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ on January 1, based on the belief that Jesus was born on December 25, and that, according to Jewish tradition, his circumcision would have taken place on the eighth day of his life (which would be January 1). The Catholic Church has also given the name Feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God to their holy day on January 1.

Images associated with New Year’s Day

In Brittany, a common image used is that of an incarnation of Father Time (or the “Old Year”) wearing a sash across his chest with the previous year printed on it passing on his duties to the Baby New Year (or the “New Year”), an infant wearing a sash with the new year printed on it.

New Year’s babies

People born on New Year’s Day are commonly called New Year babies. Hospitals, such as the Dyersburg Regional Medical Center[4] in the U.S., give out prizes to the first baby born in that hospital in the new year. These prizes are often donated by local businesses. Prizes may include various baby related items such as baby formula, baby blankets, diapers, and gift certificates to stores which specialize in baby related merchandise.

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