Some things are taken to be so self-evident that they are beyond questioning like the sun rises in the east, the Stars are visible only during the night, and New Year’s Day always falls on January 1. Except that it hasn’t always. The date of New Year’s Day seems so fundamental that it’s almost as though nature ordained it. But New Year’s Day is a civil event.
Until now it may seem obvious that the first day of January marks the beginning of the year for like forever but it’s only been that way for a few centuries. That’s because we’ve been changing and the change behind the date finally marked as the new year has some interesting story for itself too!
It started back in Rome when Julius Caesar created a Julian Calendar wherein 1st of January was marked as the New year’s day accepted by almost everyone all over the world. Now before cursing me for telling you something you know already with just attaching ‘Julius Caesar’ to it, wait for the change to come.
It was all well and good until the Roman empire was taken over by the European kingdom and Christian beliefs took over the date of celebration.
Early Christians began to adopt the Julian calendar, but people started observing New Year’s Day at very different times: March 1, March 25 and Dec. 25 were all considered New Year’s Day during various periods and places in Medieval Europe.
Isn’t that interesting? Had I been of that time, I would have treated myself twice, or maybe thrice, after all Julius Caesar has always had a piece of my heart!
Finally, King Pope Gregory XIII was tired of having to re-set the holiday( I wonder why the kings had to be so boring). Gregory designed a new calendar that used a single leap day every four years to keep it aligned. He also restored January 1 as the first day of the year. Ever since many people have accepted January 1 to be the “make resolutions that I’m gonna break tomorrow today” or the “new year new me” or the “change starts from today” or the…wait you got me right?
I still wonder why human beings had to create so much confusion when my man Julius had already set January 1 as the day, (it is when I can finally say “there you go Ceaser!” )
But still, even today different religions celebrate their New Year’s at different times. For instance, the Jewish calendar is lunar, and its New Year’s festival, Rosh Hashanah, is typically celebrated between September and October. The Islamic calendar is also lunar, and the timing of the new year can drift significantly. The Chinese calendar, meanwhile, is also lunar, but the Chinese New Year falls between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20.
Well, even though the world since ages celebrate the date differently, the spirit of the day has always been the same throughout the times and the places and that’s what really matters at the end of the day, or say the start of the year!
I would suggest you to stick on the resolutions more than you do on the date.
So when do you plan to celebrate your new year?