Any social, cultural, or religious celebration that marks the start of a new year is known as a “New Year festival.” These celebrations are among the most well-known and widely observed.
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New Year is the time or day when a new calendar year starts and the year count increases by one. Numerous cultures observe the occasion in some way. The new year begins on January 1 (New Year’s Day, which is preceded by New Year’s Eve) according to the Gregorian calendar, which is currently the most used calendar system. In both the old Julian calendar and the Roman calendar, this was also the first day of the year (after 153 BC).
Because they often (but not always) employ a lunar calendar or a lunisolar calendar, other civilizations observe their traditional or religious New Year’s Day in accordance with their traditions. Among well-known examples are the Chinese New Year, the Islamic New Year, Tamil New Year (Puthandu), and the Jewish New Year. India, Nepal, and other nations also observe New Year on dates that can be moved in the Gregorian calendar according to their calendars.
While the Julian calendar was still in use during the Middle Ages in Western Europe, authorities shifted New Year’s Day to a variety of other dates, depending on the location, including March 1, March 25, Easter, September 1, and December 25. Since that time, a large number of national civil calendars, mostly in the Western World and elsewhere, have switched to utilizing January 1 as the sole fixed date for New Year’s Day.
Travel Back In Time – New Year Festival.
The first recorded mention of a New Year’s festival is from around 2000 BCE in Mesopotamia, where in Babylonia and Assyria, the new year (Akitu) began with the new moon closest to the autumnal equinox and the new moon following the spring equinox, respectively (mid-September).
The beginning of the year coincided with the autumnal equinox on September 21 for the Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians, and with the winter solstice for the early Greeks (December 21). The year began on March 1 according to the Roman republican calendar, but from 153 BCE, the date was changed to January 1, which was maintained in the Julian calendar of 46 BCE.
Although New Year’s Day was celebrated on December 25 in Anglo-Saxon England, the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25 was considered the start of a new year by most Christians in early medieval Europe. William the Conqueror ordered that the year began on January 1; nevertheless, England later adopted March 25 in accordance with the rest of Christendom.
Following the Roman Catholic Church’s adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1582, most European nations progressively reinstated January 1 as New Year’s Day, including Scotland in 1660, Germany and Denmark in about 1700, England in 1752, and Russia in 1918.
The beginning of the year has continued to be observed on dates other than January 1 in those religions and societies that use the lunar calendar. For instance, according to the Jewish lunar calendar, the year starts on Rosh Hashana, the first day of Tishri, which falls between September 6 and October 5.
A typical Muslim year comprises 354 days, with the month of Muharram marking the start of a new year. Beginning in late January or early February, a full month is dedicated to the official celebration of the Chinese New Year. The day is observed throughout the year in several Asian civilizations. The new year is ushered in by the Tamil people of southern India on the winter solstice, while Tibetans mark the occasion in February and Thais do so in March or April. January 1–3 is a three-day holiday in Japan.
Many New Year festivals’ customs reflect the passing of time with regret and anticipation. The ancient Greeks first used a baby to represent the new year, while an elderly man stood in for the year that had just ended. Romans gave the month of January its name after their god Janus, who had two faces: a forward-looking one and a backward-looking one.
Making resolutions to kick bad habits and pick up better ones has been a tradition since the dawn of humanity. Some others think the practice dates back more than 4,000 years, to the Babylonians. It’s likely that these earliest resolutions were formed to appease the gods. The Robert Burns-revised version of the Scottish song “Auld Lang Syne” is frequently performed on New Year’s Eve in the West, especially in English-speaking nations.
Symbolic meals are frequently served during celebrations. For example, a lot of Europeans eat cabbage or other greens to bring good fortune in the upcoming year, whereas, in the American South, black-eyed peas are said to bring luck. In elaborate cuisine, ingredients with names or appearances that suggest long life, happiness, riches, and good fortune are used, as is the case throughout Asia, where unique foods like dumplings, noodles, and rice cakes are consumed.
Gatherings of friends and family have long been important because of the concept that what a person does on the first day of the year predicts what he will do for the rest of the year. The “first foot,” also known as the first visitor to cross the threshold, is significant and, depending on the region, may even be lucky.
Large crowds congregate in public places like Times Square in New York City or Trafalgar Square in London, and the countdown to the Times Square electronic ball dropping to mark the precise moment the new year begins is shown on televisions all around the world. College football games now predominate American television on New Year’s Day since the first Rose Bowl Game was played in Pasadena, California, on January 1, 1902. Popular New Year’s Day activities include the Mummers’ Procession in Philadelphia and the Tournament of Roses parade, which both include floats made of live flowers.
Many people celebrate the new year with religious rituals, such as Rosh Hashana. On this day, Hindus offer sacrifices to the gods while Buddhist monks receive presents. Visits to Buddhist temples or Shintō shrines dedicated to guardian deities are occasionally made in Japan. Chinese people offer sacrifices to the gods of the home, riches, and ancestors.
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