Festivals IloveIndia
New Year's history provides valuable insight into the beginning of the New Year celebrations around the world.

History of New Year

The festive occasion of New Year is celebrated across the globe with great zeal and enthusiasm. New Year is, perhaps, the oldest celebrated event in the world. One of the earliest New Year celebrations took place in Mesopotamia, around 2000 B.C. It was celebrated with the occurrence of the first New moon in the month of spring. This period usually fell around the middle of March. The Persians and Egyptians began their New Year with the Equinox and the Greeks used to celebrate it with the winter solstice. The first Roman calendar marked 1st March as the New Year. This calendar had just 10 months, starting from March.

It was around 150 BC that the month of January got added to the Roman calendar. With this, the New Year was moved from March to January, though it was not followed strictly. In some parts, it was still celebrated in the month of March. With time, the Roman calendar, which was based on lunar system, became highly inaccurate and unreliable. It was Julius Caesar who introduced a new calendar, based on the solar cycle. He also declared January 1 as the official New Year and insisted that it should be followed that way within the Roman Empire. His calendar is popularly known as the Julian calendar.

During the Dark ages, this practice was abolished in Europe as the Church found this New Year, and the celebrations that followed, to be non-Christian and a mockery of religion. However, it was not long before this practice was revived. This happened with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, around 1580. New Year was again restored to 1st of January and the tradition to celebrate New Year is followed till date. However, as mentioned above, not all the countries of the world celebrate New Year on the 1st of January. For instance, the Chinese New Year (called Yuan Tan) is celebrated some time between January 17 and February 19, at the time of the new moon.

The reason behind different dates for New Year around the world is that people still follow different calendars. Still, there are some New Year traditions that are common throughout the world, like the practice of making resolution on the first day of the year. There are many people who make resolutions in the beginning of the year and try to follow them for the rest part of the year. Across the world, people celebrate this year in the company of family and friends and party well past midnight. The joyous event is looked upon by people as an excellent opportunity to wish near and dear ones, and revive contacts with old friends.