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Today In History

New Year

Aug-11, 2015

New Year Festivities

Voila! So, you’ve nicely enjoyed the Christmas pie, the reindeer sled sightings, the snowman, the ostentatious Christmas tree decorations, the gifts you always wanted from Santa Clause, the carols, and Church visits. Whoohoo... Seems like you’d a great Christmas celebration! Fabulous! But wait, is Christmas the end of all the great fun and frolic that surrounds this festive season? Umm... I guess, you know it’s not! Right? That’s awesome! You guys are really picking up things very fast. Kudos, sweets! Yes, we’re awaiting the magnum opus (don’t know the word? Get your dictionary right away. It will help you in being smarter, trust me) celebration of the New Year.

The New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to start new things with a promise of working hard, being kind and helpful, and by seeking God’s blessings. Therefore, this is the occasion when people make New Year resolutions and decide what they need to do to achieve their goals with a sense of positivity. The New Year celebration is carried out with loads of pomp and opulent feastings. Today, January 1 is globally considered as the most popular date for the New Year’s beginning. Surprisingly, this concept of celebrating New Year on this particular date is pretty new. 

As you know, it’s a tradition at Best Brains to give you great information about the birth and evolution of every subject we talk about. Therefore, we will follow it up with this one as well. Now, my dear friends, stuff your pockets with chocolates (not many, remember you might acquire cavities in teeth?), cookies, nuts and all that yummy things you like and read further, as you enjoy learning about new things about the upcoming New Year! 

 Early Civilizations - People of Babylonia

 

Early civilizations celebrated New Year on different dates. For example, the Babylonians (people of the ancient city Babylon of Mesopotamia, now in Iraq) were the earliest to commemorate (again, check your dictionary for its meaning) the festivities for the arrival of the New Year. Their celebrations dated back to about 4,000 years! Therefore, the tradition of New Year is very old, but celebrating it precisely on 1st Jan is very new. That is the difference. Okay, so continuing, Babylonians marked their New Year somewhere between the mid of March. This was the harvest time for the people of Babylon and they followed it up with the festival Atiku, which lasted for 11 days, marking the defeat of the evil Sea God Tiamat by the Sky God Marduk. In addition, this festival signified the crowning of new kings in the kingdom.

Geographical Map of the Ancient Babylon
 
 

Moving on, most civilizations across the globe would celebrate New Year as a mark of the beginning of some astronomical or harvesting periods. Interestingly, Egyptians celebrated the New Year with the annual flooding of the river Nile. On the other hand, the Chinese celebrated this occasion on the second day of Winter Solstice. 

Now, since you know about the different cultures and their respective dates of New Year celebrations, let’s understand why the present generation marks Jan 1st to be beginning of the year. Here’s the story – The ancient Romans used a calendar that consisted of 10 months and 304 days. Later, King Numa Pompilius added two more months – Januaries and Februaries. This addition of extra two months to the calendar created many problems to synchronize the dates. Therefore, King Julius Caesar (Queen Cleopatra’s husband) revamped the calendar to give it the essence of that of the Gregorian calendar. For your information, Gregorian calendar is the most popularly followed calendar today. 
 

The ancient Gregorian Calendar

 

As part of his reform, Caesar instituted January 1 as the first day of the year, partly to honor the month’s namesake: Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future. Romans celebrated by offering sacrifices to Janus, exchanging gifts with one another, decorating their homes with laurel branches and attending parties. As per a day in the Gregorian Calendar of Christendom, New Year's Day marked the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ. It is still observed as such in the Anglican Church and Lutheran Church.

 

Julius Casesar - The Roman Emperor who revamped the New Calendar

 

So, this was the real story behind the institutionalizing of the New Year’s date. Hope it helped you to gain some knowledge. Now since you know this great tale, why don’t you flaunt it in front of all your friends? I’d like to tell you one thing – knowledge is the best thing that you can carry with yourself because it never leaves your side. Your favorite chocolate may go out of stock, that video game you enjoyed may get destroyed; but knowledge is always with you, it is always there for you! So, keep learning new things and acquiring new knowledge. With Best Brains, we strive to unleash your true potential so that you grow up to be well-informed, knowledgeable and successful adults. 
 

So, until next time, keep sharing your knowledge with everyone around, and enjoy this festive spirit of loving and sharing. And as William Shakespeare says, “Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.” Keep learning and keep flying high! Best wishes to all of you.

Wishing you all a very joyful, prosperous and successful New Year from our team of 'Best Brains.' Keep that smile on, cheers!