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New Year Celebration – History, Tradition & Costumes

New Year Celebration History: The beginning of a new year has a special meaning for the different cultures of the world. It is a time full of history and traditions and, although most of us celebrate and set goals for the New Year, very few know what is behind the celebrations and purposes, and it is likely that few people are aware of the various ways. Which the New Year is received in different cultures.

New Year Celebration History

Origin History of New Year Celebration

The celebration of the new year dates back to 4000 years ago but did not begin in Western cultures until only 400 years ago. The party began in ancient Babylon (now Iraq) around 2000 BC However, the Babylonians began their new year near the end of what is now March, a logical time to start a new year since the winter was over, the spring with its new life began and the crops were planted for the following year.

In 153 BC the Roman Senate decreed that the new year would begin on January 1. He made this decree to correct the calendar, which had gone out of sync with the sun. The date has no agricultural or seasonal significance.

New Year Celebration History

The welcome of the celebration of the new year

Although the first of January does not have an agricultural or seasonal meaning, it did have a civil meaning. On that date, the newly elected Roman consuls assumed their positions.

It is interesting to know that the month of January is named for the Roman God Janus, who has two faces that can represent looking back to the old year and the other looking forward to the new.

The celebration of the New Year was a pagan practice and, for this reason, the early Christian Church condemned it.

However, to facilitate the conversion of pagans to Christianity, the Church accepted the celebration of January 1, but it became the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ.

The Hidden Story of the New Year’s Day

The New Year began to be celebrated on January 1 relatively recently; It was Pope Gregory XIII who arranged it in 1582 for all Catholic countries when inaugurating the current calendar, which replaced the Julian.

Then, little by little, the other nations incorporated it – the Russians were the last, in 1917 – and so it was also accepted throughout the world that the year began on January 1 and not March 21 or April 1, as it used to be in the old days.

According to the Gregorian calendar, the next January 1 will start the year 2007; but as it was structured on a miscalculation made by the monk Dionysius the Meager when fixing between four and five years before the beginning of the Christian era, the date would be very different.

It turned out that Dionisio was fed up with the fact that the years had continued since the Emperor Diocletian’s assumption, since he had persecuted the Christians with fury, and took advantage of the new calendar to do so from the birth of Jesus.

After establishing that the Child God had been born on December 25 of the year 753 Ab urbe condita– that is, since the founding of Rome- decided that the year one of our eras coincided with the 754 AUC, without noticing that by then the death of Herod was four years old.

That was when the question arose: how could Herod send to slaughter the Messiah in the slaughter of innocents, if he himself was already dead? The recalculation reported the error but the Gregorian calendar continued as it is.

New studies based on what was estimated in the sixteenth century by the astronomer Johann Kepler, based on the appearance of the star of Bethlehem-actually, a triple conjunction of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn in the sign of Pisces-led to propose that Jesus I would have been born in mid-September of year 7 and not in December of year 1.

This means that next December 31st, we should not offer for the year 2007, which has already passed, but for the new year 2014.

What has been said does not have much relevance, if one observes that other peoples -who in the civilian sphere deal with the Gregorian calendar- celebrate their new year at other times, depending on their own historical or religious traditions.

For example, the Chinese New Year begins between January and February with the first new Aquarian Moon; the Jewish Rosh Hashanah (head of the year) begins in the month of Tisri of the Hebrew calendar, which is equivalent to September or October of the Gregorian; and the Muslim New Year in the month of Muharram which, as it obeys a lunar calendar, may fall in any Gregorian month.

With respect to the years, these are also different: the Chinese live in the year 4704 of the Dog and next February 18 they will receive the year 4705 of the Pig.

The Jews transited 5767, which they established from the supposed date of Adam’s birth; whereas the Muslims, whose almanac begins with the flight of Mahoma to Medina in the year 622, subtract this figure to the Gregorian year to know in which they live: 1384.

In the city of Buenos Aires, the 1550 law sanctioned in 2004, instituted on June 21 as the new year of the original peoples, according to which they celebrate it on the winter solstice, and therefore, that day their children are excepted to attend class.

However, the start of the astronomical or natural year – based on the seasons cycle – continues to be the spring equinox in the North (from autumn to the South), that is, between March 20 and 21, when the Sun “touches” the vernal point and the wheel of the seasons recommences its return.

On the same date, the astrological year also begins: between March 20 and 21 the Sun “touches” the zero degrees of Aries (or vernal point), the first sign of the zodiac, and then progresses, every thirty days, over each of the remaining eleven signs.

So, when does the new year really start? Astrologers say that the New Year is personal and that it begins when you arrive in the world, that is, on the birthday.

The New Year Tradition

Although the date designated to celebrate the start of a new year varies from culture to culture, everywhere in the world there is a moment for this celebration. There are so many different customs that it is impossible to list them all, but here we comment some of them

New Year Celebration History
 Scotland Tradition
  • Spain: 

Eating twelve grapes at midnight on December 31 will bring twelve months of happiness.

  • Japan: 

Before the day of the celebration, it is necessary to clean the houses inside and out. On New Year’s Eve, at midnight, a monk sounds a gong at a local altar as a symbol of forgiveness for the mistakes of the year that is going.

  • The Netherlands: 

To purge the previous year and welcome the New Year, the Dutch take to the streets to do with their Christmas trees.

  • Scotland: 

The first steps of the people are to visit their neighbors after midnight to wish them a happy year. It is considered that it brings good luck if the first person who enters your house is a tall, dark and handsome man.

  • Germany: 

Small pieces of lead are melted in a spoon on a lit candle. The melted lead is poured into cold water. It hardens and shapes are formed that predict the future. A figure in the shape of a heart or a ring, for example, predicts a wedding.

  • Greece:

 A cake is cooked with a gold or silver coin inside. The person who gets the portion with the coin will be lucky for the rest of the year.

New Year in Different Religion

The purpose of the solar cycle is usually given for many religions and cultures over the years because the sun gives maximum power.

In pre-Hispanic cultures, the celebration of the end of the year was when winter ended and spring began.

New Year Celebration History

For Chinese, the Chinese New Year cannot be converted to an exact date in the Gregorian calendar. And may occur between January 21 or February 21. It is based on the lunar calendar traditionally used in China. And the celebration falls in general, to the second full moon, after the winter solstice, which is December 21.

The Jewish people have another account since they do not coincide with the same calendar. And they do not take the BC and AD as a reference. They celebrate their new year with the “Rosh-HaShanah” and fall within the month of September or the beginning of October.

Other New Years

  • Some Orthodox radicals celebrate on January 14 by keeping the Julian calendar.
  • The celebration of the Vietnamese New Year, celebrated next to the Chinese New Year.
  • The Islamic New Year is celebrated on Muharram 1, around the end of January and the beginning of February.
  • The celebration of the Tibetan New Year is celebrated between January and March.
  • The celebration of the New Year Iranian is for the vernal equinox, on March 21.
  • Also, the celebration of Bahais is given in the vernal equinox, on March 21.
  • In Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, and Bengal are celebrated between April 13 and 15.
  • The Mapuche New Year celebration is on July 24.
  • The celebration of the Inca New Year, July 24.
  • The celebration of the Jewish New Year is usually in September.
  • The celebration of the Ethiopian New Year, September 11.

New Year’s Resolutions

Making New Year’s resolutions is as old as the celebration itself. The Babylonians made purposes, the most popular was to return agricultural tools. The ancient Romans also made New Year’s resolutions, the most popular was to ask for the forgiveness of their enemies.

The Anglo-Saxons, who settled in what is now England, had a festival called Yule. Which celebrated a fertile and peaceful season. The boar was part of this celebration and the people made solemn “wild boar oaths” for the coming year.


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