Well, it’s the end of the year: time to start fresh, make resolutions and get ready for 2019. With the coming of New Year we will celebrate another lap around the sun, one more year well spent.
At one second past midnight on January 1, the day will change and people all over the world will shout, cheer and rejoice as the joy and excitement of a new year comes, and with it all the hopes and possibilities for another good year and a bright future.
This unique tick of the clock always prompts us to celebrate as well as to step outside our day-to-day lives: to reflect and to look back, assess how we’ve done, and to give thanks for all that we have plus resolve to do better going forward.
This kind of joy and celebration is felt all over the world and for most of us it is almost as important as our birthday. The New Years celebration is truly a joyous event and it has been for at least as long as there have been calendars.
It is profoundly meaningful and important given all the energy and resources we invest, not just in the celebration but also our efforts to make good on a fresh set of resolutions every year. And as the New Year comes we embrace it and prepare to start living the days of the next calendar year.
Measuring the Year by the Calendar
The date of January 1 was not always the first day of the year.
During the Roman era, March marked the beginning of the calendar. But in the year 46 B.C., Julius Caesar created the Julian calendar, which set the new year where it is celebrated today January 1.
Even though the Julian calendar had set the date for New Year at January 1 it still varied a lot throughout the following years because of effects of the seasons and the moon cycle.
The Gregorian calendar, from Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, was an attempt to make the calendar stop wandering with respect to the seasons. In the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Eve, the last day of the year, is on 31 December.
Today January 1 is almost universally recognized as the beginning of the new year, but still there are a few holdouts: Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iran, Nepal and Saudi Arabia rely on their own calendrical conventions.
How We Celebrate the New Year
As we say, the New Year is celebrated all over the world with much emphasis on New Year’s Eve.
In many countries, New Year’s Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where people dance, eat, drink alcoholic beverages, and light fireworks to mark the new year. These are the celebrations that generally go on past midnight into New Year’s Day, January 1.
The fireworks are a big part of the celebration and many people stay home and watch the world celebrate New Years on TV. The coverage is good and it’s such a joy to see each place tick down the clock until that magic moment when New Years is declared and the great joy surges.
Many world centers have large gatherings and in the USA the biggest one is in New York City. Last year an estimated 2 million people ushered in the new year in New York’s Times Square, screaming and kissing as the crystal ball dropped, marking the New Year. And millions more tuned in to watch it on TV.
Some Things to Do on New Year’s Eve
Besides watching the fireworks around the world, people find many things to do like:
- late-night partying
- family gatherings
- social gatherings
- gift exchanges
- watch night services
All of these activities are usually shared amongst people and everyone forgets who they are and gets totally involved in the moment. So much joy gets celebrated that, even though it’s only once a year, it is usually a time to remember. And most people have stories to tell for weeks about how they spent their New Years.
The New Year Through History
The celebration of New Year is the celebration of the year itself, 365 days of meaningful and productive life events.
Throughout the year we go through many months of seasonal weather and changing temperatures and we usually have a lot of things to do at each bend of the road. All through history people have been busy and during the days of old there was no one more important than the farmer.
Seeing the Year in Farming Terms
The seasons of the year were hard worked and dedicated for the farmer: they dug the soil, planted the earth and created the food that we all ate and even prayed for.
The farmers work was never done and his tasks and duties continued even under the blanket of winter snow. Their lives were tied to the weather and it was much appreciated when the weather was good, the crops grew and there was enough rain to keep everyone satisfied.
When the farmers saw the New Year coming they gave thanks for another good year and prayed for more good years.
They sometimes could make good money and they had the wives help with some of the tasks. There was often work for the whole family and there were many things to do.
Duties performed by the farmers through the year:
- Planting early crops
- Ploughing the fields and fertilising
- Weeding and Scaring off the birds
- Harvesting crops and tending to the animals
- Shearing the sheep
- Fruit picking and Milling
- Weaving and Rope making
One of the best times of the entire year was harvesting, the whole of the family would take to the fields to gather the grains and vegatables that had been planted. It was important that the crop was harvested as quickly as possible to prevent rain and cold damage.
It was also important to have a good harvest so if a family was struggling then the neighbors would come and help them with the harvest.
And when the harvest was good, as it often times was, then there would be celebration. People would dance and sing plus give thanks to their God for the bounty of the harvest and the good grace that had been shown their way through a busy year.
The Year Marked by the Calendars
The New Year is an exciting time and brings the end a year that we mark on the calendar. The calendar is a useful tool that we use everyday to display the date and the day of the week, and often the whole of each particular year divided up into months, weeks, and days.
The term calendar comes from the word calendae, a term for the first day of the month in the Roman calendar. This was related to the verb calare “to call out”, meaning the “calling” of the new moon when it was first seen, like at the beginning of a month.
The Christian calendar was originally based on the Julian calendar of the Romans.
The calendar we use today is the Gregorian calendar which is the most widely used civil calendar in the world.
Here we list some of the famous calendars used in different regions over the periods of history.
Julian Calendar – A solar calendar from the Romans from the year 45 BC. It was used in the western world and was a revision of the Roman Republican calendar. Used in the Roman Empire and the Christian Middle Ages, and remains in use as liturgical calendar of Eastern Orthodox Churches.
Gregorian calendar – A solar calendar, julian-derived and begun in the year 1582. It is used today worldwide and was introduced as a reform of the Julian calendar in the Roman Catholic church.
Chinese Calendar – This calendar had four seasons and eight nodes and was a solar calendar. It was Chinese dating to the Bronze Age, the period: 3000 BC – 1200 BC. The year is divided into four seasons, and each season is divided into a festival and three months. The start and middle of each season is the key node of the year.
Chinese Calendar – Another lunisolar calendar was used by the Chinese starting in the year 619. It was the first Chinese calendar to use the true moon motion.
Roman calendar – This calendar was a solar model used by the Romans starting 713 BC. It was used in the Roman republic and based on the reforms introduced by Numa Pompilius in 713 BC.
Egyptian calendar – Another old calendar, this one had fixed 365 days. It was Bronze age the period: 3000 BC – 1200 BC. and used in the Middle Kingdom. The year was based on the heliacal rising of Sirius (Sothis) and divided into the three seasons of akhet (Inundation), peret (Growth) and shemu (Harvest).
We all love the New Year and look forward to the celebrations all year long. It’s a great time to rejoice with family and friends and it brings the close of the old along with the hopes of the new.
Whether we are looking to our celebrations that we have now or thinking about the folks of old so many years ago it still seems like the same year. It is our planet and we are the people just like it was in olden times.
We, like our ancestors, like to celebrate the New Year with a bang and give a big shout that the New Year is as good as or better than the good year that we’ve just had!
New Year’s Quotes
“I hope that in this year to come, you make no mistakes”
“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right”
“Wishing you good health, happiness, and success in the coming year and always”
“May Light always surround you”
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Photo Credit: Blue Dragon image By Rhododendrites