History of New Year’s Day: Why on January 1?

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Calendars

A variety of calendars were developed for all kinds of purposes:

  • Astronomical: connecting the movement of celestial objects in the sky
  • Commercial: tracking trade and billing
  • Arithmetic: for calculating differences between dates. Because there was no Year 0, the difference between 1 BC and AD 1 is one year, not two years. Which is a challenge for Astronomical Calendars
  • Social: to keep track of people on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. It gives a new meaning to the word “date.”
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Date of New Year’s Day

So, back to the date for New Year. Originally it was celebrated late in March when Spring begins with the Vernal Equinox. The ancient Babylonians were the first recorded observers of New Year festivities some 4,000 years ago and marked it with the priests offering sacrifices at their temple, kind of like their church. These celebrations lasted for 11 days due to the numerous state-sponsored football bowl games played at that time. But because there were also the priestly religious observances held at this time, it caused a cry from the populace for the “separation of church and state-championships.”

Roman New Year

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Christianity’s Influence on New Year’s Day

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Circumcision of Christ, by Luca Signorelli

Silicon Valley Tech Exec: Cloud, Data Storage, Automation. Author of fascinating articles about history, tech trends, andpop culture. Blog: http://billpetro.com

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