The History of New Year's
New Year's is a holiday that is celebrated around the world on December 31st and January 1st. It marks the end of the current year and the beginning of the new year. The celebration of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day has a long history that can be traced back to ancient civilizations.
One of the earliest known New Year’s celebrations was in ancient Mesopotamia, around 2000 B.C. The Babylonians celebrated around the time of the vernal equinox, which was in mid-March. The celebration, known as Akitu, lasted for 11 days in which they would perform a different ritual each day. Various dates also tied to the seasons were used by other ancient cultures. The Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians began their new year with the autumnal equinox, and the Greeks celebrated it with the winter solstice.
The early Roman calendar designated March 1st as the new year, however, the later Julian calendar instituted January 1st as the new year. Romans would celebrate by offering sacrifices to Janus (the month's namesake), exchanging gifts with each other, decorating their homes, and attending parties.
In medieval Europe, January 1st as the new year was replaced by days with more religious importance, such as December 25th and March 25th. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII re-established January 1st as New Year’s Day.
Today, the celebration of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day has evolved into a more secular holiday that is marked by parties, fireworks, and other festive activities. Many people make resolutions for the new year, such as to lose weight or to save more money, and the new year is seen as a time for new beginnings and fresh starts.