Do you know that new year’s day is not January 1st before?
In today’s society, January 1st is considered as the New Year’s Day. In the time of Julius Caesar, the Romans celebrated the New Year in march because March was the first month in the Roman Calendar.
How did it become January 1st?
It was January 1st when the Romans changed their governmental figures and new consuls were appointed into office. To celebrate the new officials, they conducted feasting and games, but during this time, they still used March 1st as their official mark of the new year and had a festival in honor of their god Mars (God of War).
Then Caesar changed the Roman New Year’s Day to January 1st in honor of Janus (God of all beginnings and gatekeeper of heaven and earth.) Janus was always depicted with two faces: One looking back to the old year (past) and one looking ahead to the new year (future). One of the customs in the festival honoring Janus was to exchange gifts and then make resolutions to be friendly and good to one another.
Do we see a resemblance today?
Wait there’s more.
Then Constantine became the Roman emperor. When He accepted Christianity as their new faith, they kept the pagan festival of Janus as the New Year’s Day (not March as before) and turned it into a day of prayer and fasting and not partying. The Roman people may have accepted January 1st and Janus as the New Year, but many did not accept the turning over a new leaf, prayer and fasting part of it.
In 1582, Great Britain and the English colonies in America still kept March for the beginning of the year. It wasn’t until 1752 that Britain (and it’s colonies) adopted the new Gregorian calendar and January 1 as the beginning of the year. But many Puritans in New England felt Janus was an offensive pagan god and chose to simply ignore January 1 as a New Years Day. Instead they just made the entire month of January as “The First Month” of the months.
And, today no one really considers January 1 a fasting day. For many, new year’s day is a day of partying, feasting, games and family reunions. It’s a shadow of what the ancient Romans do, drinking, eating, partying, sexual orgies as ways of acting out all chaos that they hoped a new year would get rid of.
How did New Year’s Resolutions begin?
They believed the the New Year’s festival was a way to start over, by taking away their so-called excess energy and confessing their sins, there was a hope that they would be much better in the next year ahead. To be able to do this, they encourage the young people not to waste the new year on foolish things but to use it as an opportunity to make a good change in their lives for the good.
The custom of making New Year’s Resolutions came into trend in the 20th century. But most of it was done with tease and an understanding that they would not be kept (for long anyway) since humans were naturally backsliders by nature to their naughty habits and ways.
The resolutions today are simply a secular version of the religious vows made in the past toward spiritual perfection. They are often made with good intentions and broken with a sense of humor and renewed annually.
The Ancient New Year
The celebration of the new year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. In the years around 2000 BC, the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon (actually the first visible crescent) after the Vernal Equinox (first day of spring).
The beginning of spring is a logical time to start a new year. After all, it is the season of rebirth, of planting new crops, and of blossoming. January 1, on the other hand, has no astronomical nor agricultural significance. It is purely arbitrary.
The Babylonian new year celebration lasted for eleven days. Each day had its own particular mode of celebration, but it is safe to say that modern New Year’s Eve festivities pale in comparison.
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, in 153 BC, declared January 1 to be the beginning of the new year. But tampering continued until Julius Caesar, in 46 BC, established what has come to be known as the Julian Calendar. It again established January 1 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.
In some denominations, new year’s day is celebrated as Christ’s circumcision.
Other New Year Traditions
There are many traditions of this celebration dating back to the early Babylonians. This includes the popular resolutions that people do, promise anything that they would quit or start something they would want to do. The early Babylonian’s most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment.
The tradition of using a baby to signify the new year was begun in Greece around 600 BC. It was their tradition at that time to celebrate their god of wine, Dionysus, by parading a baby in a basket, representing the annual rebirth of that god as the spirit of fertility. Early Egyptians also used a baby as a symbol of rebirth.
Although the early Christians denounced the practice as pagan, the popularity of the baby as a symbol of rebirth forced the Catholic church to re-evaluate its position. The Catholic church finally allowed its members to celebrate the new year with a baby, which was to symbolize the birth of the baby Jesus.
The use of an image of a baby with a New Years banner as a symbolic representation of the new year was brought to early America by the Germans. They had used the effigy since the fourteenth century.
Be Lucky this New Year
Traditionally, it was thought that one could affect the luck they would have throughout the coming year by what they did or ate on the first day of the year. For that reason, it has become common for folks to celebrate the first few minutes of a brand new year in the company of family and friends. Parties often last into the middle of the night after the ringing in of a new year. It was once believed that the first visitor on New Year’s Day would bring either good luck or bad luck the rest of the year. It was particularly lucky if that visitor happened to be a tall dark-haired man.
Traditional New Year foods are also thought to bring luck. Many cultures believe that anything in the shape of a ring is good luck, because it symbolizes “coming full circle,” completing a year’s cycle. For that reason, the Dutch believe that eating donuts on New Year’s Day will bring good fortune.
Many parts of the U.S. celebrate the new year by consuming black-eyed peas. These legumes are typically accompanied by either hog jowls or ham. Black-eyed peas and other legumes have been considered good luck in many cultures. The hog, and thus its meat, is considered lucky because it symbolizes prosperity. Cabbage is another “good luck” vegetable that is consumed on New Year’s Day by many. Cabbage leaves are also considered a sign of prosperity, being representative of paper currency. In some regions, rice is a lucky food that is eaten on New Year’s Day.
In some countries in the East, circular foods or fruits are served in the new year’s eve to bring luck in their homes. People dress clothes with polka dots which they hope for luck signifying money or wealth in the coming new year.
Like Christmas, new year’s day celebration has shadows of pagan practice and belief. We have learned in the Bible that Babylon, the mother of all Harlots and Abominations of the earth, mixed it up with the early church and until now, these practices, traditions and beliefs were practiced by many people.
Traditions, as we have learned from the Bible, Mat 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. Mat 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Apostle Paul says, 2Co 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
Never will a true Christian be a part of the deceit of the devil.