Probably one of the most recognized holidays around the world, New Year’s Day is observed January 1.
Celebrations will begin in the Pacific Ocean with Samoa celebrating the New Year before the rest of the world. The latest stroke of midnight will occur in the middle of the Pacific Ocean near Baker Island which is halfway between Hawaii and Australia.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Traditions around the world:
- Kiss at midnight the one person you hope to keep kissing the rest of the year.
- Making noise, either in the form of fireworks, ringing bells, horns blasting or pistol shots are traditional around the world.
- Toasts to the new year are made with spiced wine in Holland, wassail in England or champagne in the United States.
- Resolutions are not a modern tradition. The Babylonians made commitments to return borrowed objects and to pay old debts.
Use #NewYearsDay to post on social media.
The new year has been celebrated for millennia. The earliest record of new year’s celebrations occurred during Babylonian times and was celebrated on the first new moon after the vernal equinox. These festivities occurred in Martius (March), the first month in the early Roman calendar which only had ten months.
King Pompilius later added the months Januarius (named for Janus, the pagan god of gates, doors and beginnings) and Februarius bringing the calendar to 12 months. It was Julius Caesar who created the Julian calendar which most closely resembles the Gregorian calendar a majority of the world follows today.
Romans celebrated January 1 in honor of Janus, offering sacrifices, giving gifts and decorating with laurel branches. With his two faces, the god Janus was able to look toward the past and forward to the future. Celebrating the first day of the year in the appropriately named month of January, Romans made sacrifices to Janus, giving gifts and general revelry.