January 1 new year’s day

People from all over the world have been celebrating the onset of the new year for at least four epochs. As of now, the new year celebrations start in full swing on December 31st which is called new year’s eve and continue till the early hours of January 1 new year’s day. People usually celebrate January 1 new year’s day by attending parties, watching the display of fireworks, eating new year’s foods, and most importantly, making new year’s resolutions.

Ancient New Year’s Celebrations

The celebrations of January 1 New Year’s Day have been around us for the past 4,000 years. In the times of ancient Babylon, the first new moon that followed the vernal equinox (a day at the end of March where the sunlight equals darkness) signaled the onset of a new year. This occasion used to be marked with a glorious religious festival namely Atiku. The word Atiku, derived from the Sumerian word for barley, used to go on for 11 straight days and it consisted of various rituals. Not just the new year celebrations but Atiku also celebrated the mythical victory of Marduk, the sky god of Babylon, over Tiamat, an evil goddess of the sea. It also served an essential political purpose. It was the time when the divine mandate of the current ruler was symbolically renewed or the new king was crowned.

An interesting fact: Julius Caesar added 90 extra days to the year 46 B.C. to readjust the Roman calendar with the sun. Caesar named this calendar as the Julian calendar.

Looking back at the ancient days, we can see that civilizations all across the world managed to build highly sophisticated calendars in which they pinned the very first day of the year to some astronomical or agricultural event. For example, in Egypt, the first day of the year coincided with the annual flooding of the Nile, which then overlapped with the rising of the star Sirius. Meanwhile, the first day of the Chinese New Year coincided with the second new moon that occurred after the winter solstice.

January 1 Becomes New Year’s Day

In the eighth century B.C., Romulus, the founder of Rome, created the Roman calendar that consisted of 10 months and 304 days. In this calendar, each new year begins at the vernal equinox. Then, a new king, Numa Pompilius, added two more months to the calendar – Januarius and Februarius. The calendar remained out of sync with the sun for many centuries. However, in 46 B.C., the emperor Julius Caesar took a step forward to solve this problem finally. He consulted many great mathematicians and astronomers of that time and that’s how he came up with his Julian calendar. This calendar closely resembles the Gregorian calendar that most people use today.

It was Caesar who named January 1 as New Year’s Day because he wanted to honor the name of the month. Because Janus was the Roman god of beginnings consisting of two heads, one, which looked into the past, whereas the other one, allowed him to look into the future. In medieval times, Romans used to celebrate by making various sacrifices to Janus, attending boisterous parties, and embellishing their homes with laurel branches. However, in ancient Europe, some of the prominent Christian leaders decided to replace January 1 as the first day of the year with the days that hold more importance religiously. For instance, December 25 marked the anniversary of the birth of Jesus, and March 25 holds the feast of annunciation. Nevertheless, in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII reinstated January 1 as new year’s day.

New Year’s Traditions and Celebrations

As mentioned earlier, the new year celebrations start from the evening of December 31st and go on till the early hours of January 1st. All the celebrators enjoy this time by eating special new year meals and snacks that they think will bring blessings and good luck. For example, in Spain and various other Spanish-speaking countries, revelers eat a dozen grapes right before midnight. This ritual symbolizes their hopes for the upcoming months.

If we look at some other new year dishes, we have legumes, lentils, and black-eyed peas. In many countries, many people believe that legumes bring financial success because they resemble coins. Lentils are a famous new year’s dish in Italy while the people of the southern United States love black-eyed peas. Pork adorns the tables in Austria, Portugal, Cuba, Hungary, and many other countries as pigs represent growth and affluence in a few cultures. In Mexico, Greece, and the Netherlands, people usually prepare ring-shaped cakes and pastries that represent that the year will come in full swing. There is a different culture in Sweden and Norway where people make rice pudding and hide an almond inside. It is believed that whoever finds that almond will have good fortune for the next 12 months.

Other celebrations include watching the display of fireworks and singing various new year welcoming songs. The most popular among these songs is “Auld Lang Syne” which is sung by the people of many English-speaking countries. Another thing that people do on January 1st New Year’s Day is to make new year’s resolutions. The practice of making these resolutions dates back to ancient Babylon. Babylonians used to make promises to acquire the praise of their gods and to start the new year with positive energy. Reportedly, they used to vow to return the borrowed farm equipment along with paying off their debts.

Talking about the United States, the most evocative tradition is the dropping of a giant ball in the Times Square of New York City once both the hands of a clock hit 12. Tens of thousands of people from all around the world gather around Times Square and watch the event. This tradition has taken place every year since 1907. In this span, the ball itself has transformed a lot. From being a 700-pound iron and wood orb, it has now changed into being a brightly patterned sphere. This sphere weighs 12,000 pounds and is 12 feet in diameter.

New Year’s Resolutions

We said in the previous section that people celebrate January 1 New Year’s Day by making resolutions. Until now, the most common new year’s resolutions are:

  • Exercise more (38%)
  • Lose weight (33%)
  • Eat healthier (32%)

Other new year’s resolutions include:

  • Save money
  • Make a lot of friends
  • Treat people better

As we said before, the celebrations of New Year’s Day date back to some 4,000 years to the times of Babylonians. Since then, it has been a tradition for all the civilizations around the world to make new year resolutions as per their preference.

Public Life

In many countries, there is a public holiday on the eve of the new year. These countries include the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. All the schools, government offices, and post offices remain closed during the January 1 New Year’s Day. If you want to travel to another place through public transport during the new year, you will need to check the schedule beforehand.


People use a number of ways to symbolize the New Year’s Eve of December 31 and the January 1 New Year’s Day. When the clock strikes midnight, people enjoy the magnificent display of fireworks and firecrackers. Most of the people also toast with champagne and drink it to welcome the new year.

January 1 New Year’s Day And Its Importance

January 1 New Year’s Day holds an immense amount of importance in everyone’s life, solely because of the word ‘new’. All of us cherish and enjoy all the new things that happen in our lives. We always get excited when we try out new things. The same concept applies here. A lot of people have asked us why they should celebrate happy New Year’s Eve in the first place. We’ve already covered the history of New Year’s Day and its traditions. Let us now discuss why these celebrations are important.

Why do we celebrate the new year?

When both the hands of a clock strike together, it isn’t just a new day or a new month. You greet a whole new year. It isn’t your usual strike because it opens up new beginnings, new challenges, and new excitement. That is why it is considered to be quite significant because we say goodbye to the previous 365 days and welcome the new days with a newfound spirit. January 1 New Year’s Day is not just about new year’s traditions and celebrations but it also motivates you to face anything that may come your way.

Most people believe that the new year would be the same as the previous one and all the resolutions that they make on New Year’s Day will break once they step into the year. However, there is much more to New Year’s Day than what meets the eye. January 1 New Year’s Day has a deep impact on everybody’s lives and it is much more than just welcoming a new year and making new year’s resolutions.

We talked earlier that the most common new year’s resolutions include eating healthier, losing weight, and exercising frequently. Now, these are more than just being new year’s resolutions. They represent that people want to live a healthier, longer life, and want to excel at anything they want. All in all, everyone aims to be a better version of themselves. This is of huge importance because people are at least trying to be better even if there is uncertainty that they will remain committed to their promises.

But, in reality, why we celebrate New Year’s Day is still a debatable question for many people. According to the British psychologist, Richard Wiseman, nothing changes on New Year’s Day. Plus, all the new year’s resolutions made by the people are old-fashioned. However, at the end of the day, everything we promise on happy New Year’s Eve is for our own survival. Therefore, act accordingly.

Importance of new year celebration

New year’s celebrations aren’t new. They have been with us for several centuries. Each of these celebrations has its own significance. From displaying fireworks to dining, everything is important in its own way. The only reason behind all these celebrations is that people hope for a prosperous year ahead. They don’t know what the new year has in store for them. So, they want to dive into it in full swing. Everything we do and every emotion that we go through on happy New Year’s Eve impacts us greatly in the new 365-day cycle. Therefore, every person celebrates the first day with full zeal and zest.

FAQs About New Year’s Day

What are new year’s festivals?

All the traditions and celebrations that take place all around the world constitute new year festivals. However, these festivals occur at different times in different places because of the different calendar systems. Some countries follow the Gregorian calendar while some follow the Jewish religious calendar or the Greek lunar calendar. All of these calendars have different dates for the new year. However, the majority of new year’s festivals are celebrated on December 31st.

Why does the new year begin on January 1?

Both the Roman republic calendar and the Julian calendar named January 1 as the first day of the new year. This date was chosen because the ancient people wanted to honor Janus, the Roman god of beginnings. However, many Christian leaders tried to change the date by replacing it with some other religiously important dates but Pope Gregory XIII reinstated January 1 as the first day of the new year. Gradually, all the people around the world adopted this date and they celebrate the first day of the new year on January 1.

When is New Year’s Eve?

Happy New Year’s Eve is always celebrated on December 31 according to the Gregorian calendar, while January 1 is considered to be the first day of the new year.

How is New Year’s Eve celebrated?

People celebrate New Year’s Eve on a full blast when the clock strikes midnight. People gather up with their families and friends and enjoy the new year’s traditional dishes that symbolize good fortune in the upcoming months and days. People also celebrate New Year’s Day by cheering, drinking sparkling wine or champagne, kissing their loved ones, and singing new year’s songs.

Why does a ball drop on New Year’s Eve?

Dropping a ball on New Year’s Eve has been a tradition since 1907. This ball is known as the New Year’s Eve ball and it’s dropped from a pole above Times Square in New York City at 11:59 PM. The dropping of the New Year’s Eve ball signifies the passage of time. It is quite an old tradition that dates back to 1833 when the Royal Greenwich Observatory used to drop balls at exactly 1:00 PM. This was done to communicate the time to the ships that were on the sail.

What do people do on Happy New Year’s Eve?

Different countries have different cultures and they celebrate New Year’s Day according to those cultures. In some countries, the children receive gifts from their elders. In Japan, it is considered to be a popular holiday where everyone celebrates his or her birthday. In Scotland, New Year’s Eve is known as Hogmanay. On this day, people visit their families and friends after midnight.

In most parts of the world, people who stay up all night during the happy New Year’s Eve are allowed to take the next day off. They get the chance to spend time with their loved ones, attend church services, watch movies, or even play sports.

Other new year’s celebrations that people take part in are the New Year’s Day parades, the display of fireworks, and dancing to the beats of music.

Which countries celebrate new year first and last?

The first places that celebrate the new year are Tonga and the Line Islands which are a part of Kiribati. On the other hand, the last places to welcome the new year are American Samoa and Baker Island.

Want to read about other important days in the month of January? Then click here.
Or if you want to read about important days of other months of the year, then check out “Important Days of the Year” category.


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