Finally, the year 2020 is coming to an end! The pandemic year taught us a great deal about life and how to cherish every little moment. 2021 is almost here and it’s time to start afresh and let bygones be bygones but don’t forget your mask and sanitizer as COVID-19 is pretty much here to stay until we get our vaccines. People around the world ring in New Year as the clock strikes 12, but have you ever wondered why do we celebrate the new year on January 1? Also Read - Taxi Driver Takes Drunk Passenger Straight to Police Station After He Refuses to Wear Face Mask
Common traditions of any New Year’s Day include attending or hosting parties, dancing to wee hours, eating New year’s special food, making new year resolution and enjoying watching fireworks displays. The date of New Year’s Day seems so fundamental that it feels that it was ordained to happen on this day. It is observed on January 1, it is the first of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar and Julian calendar. Also Read - EPFO Begins to Credit 8.5% Interest For 2019-20, to Reflect in EPF Accounts From January 1
What started the New Year’s Celebrations? Also Read - Reliance Jio to Make Domestic Voice Calls on Other Networks Free From January 1
It dates back some 4,000 years back to ancient Babylon and it was celebrated to honour the first new moon following the vernal equinox- the day in late March with an equal amount of sunlight and darkness—heralded the start of a new year, as per History.com.
Akitu, a religious festival was celebrated on this day and it went on for 11 days. The festival celebrated the mythical victory of the Babylonian sky god Marduk over the evil sea goddess Tiamat and served an important political purpose: It was during this time that a new king was crowned or that the current ruler’s divine mandate was symbolically renewed.
People around the world celebrated the first day of the year as an astronomical or agricultural event. In Egypt, civilization began the year with the annual flooding of the Nile, which also coincided with the rising of the star Sirius. The first day of the Chinese new year, meanwhile, occurred with the second new moon after the winter solstice, as per the website.
January 1 celebrated as New Year’s
Did you know that the early Roman calendar consisted of 10 months and 304 days, and every new year used to begin at the vernal equinox; as per the tradition, it was started by Romulus, the founder of Rome, in the eighth century B.C. As per History.com, Numa Pompilius, a later king added the months of Januarius and Februarius. In 46 B.C. Julius Caesar, the emperor consulted prominent astronomers and mathematicians of his time. Julius introduced the Julian calendar, which somewhat resembled the modern Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar is used by most countries around the world today.
Julius decided to observe January 1, as the first day of the year, in order to honour the month’s namesake, Janus- the Roman god of beginnings. The Romans celebrated New Year’s by exchanging gifts, decorating their homes with laurel branches and attending raucous parties.