New Year's Day is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar used in ancient Rome. With most countries using the Gregorian calendar as their main calendar, New Year's Day is the closest thing to being the world's only truly global public holiday, often celebrated with fireworks at the stroke of midnightas the new year starts. January 1 on the Julian calendar corresponds to January 14 on the Gregorian calendar, and it is on that date that followers of some of the Eastern Orthodoxchurches celebrate the New Year.
The Romans dedicated this day to Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings. The month of January was named after Janus, who had two faces, one looking forward and the other looking backward. This suggests that New Year's celebrations are founded on pagan traditions. Some have suggested this occurred in 153 BC, when it was stipulated that the two annual consuls (after whose names the years were identified) entered into office on that day, though no consensus exists on the matter. Dates in March, coinciding with the spring equinox, or commemorating the Annunciation of Jesus, along with a variety of Christian feast dates were used throughout the Middle Ages, though calendars often continued to display the months in columns running from January to December.
Among the 7th century pagans of Flanders and the Netherlands, it was the custom to exchange gifts at the New Year. This was a pagan custom deplored by Saint Eligius (died 659 or 660), who warned the Flemings and Dutchmen, "(Do not) make vetulas, [little figures of the Old Woman], little deer or iotticos or set tables [for the house-elf, compare Puck] at night or exchange New Year gifts or supply superfluous drinks [another Yule custom]." The quote is from the vita of Eligius written by his companion, Ouen.
Most countries in Western Europe officially adopted January 1 as New Year's Day somewhat before they adopted the Gregorian calendar. InEngland, the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25, was the first day of the new year until the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar in 1752. The March 25 date was known as Annunciation Style; the January 1 date was known as Circumcision Style, because this was the date of theFeast of the Circumcision, being the eighth day counting from December 25 when Christ was believed to be born. This day was christened as the beginning of the New Year by Pope Gregory as he designed the Liturgical Calendar.[citat
New Year's Days in other calendars
In cultures which traditionally or currently use calendars other than the Gregorian, New Year's Day is often also an important celebration. Some countries concurrently use the Gregorian and another calendar. New Year's Day in the alternative calendar attracts alternative celebrations of New year.
- Chinese New Year is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is the first day of the lunar calendar (but corrects for the solar every three years. Normally falls between 20 January and 20 February). It is celebrated in numerous countries such as Korea, Vietnam, and many other Asian countries that have Chinese heritage or follows the lunar calendar. It can also be seen internationally since the Chinese population is widely spread out. It is celebrated with plenty of good food, lucky red envelopes (filled with money), families, and many things red (which resembles good luck). Lion and dragon dance, drums, fireworks, firecrackers, and other entertainments will fill the streets. It is the favorite holiday for many Chinese adults and children.
- Hindu New Year falls at the time and date Sun enters Aries on the Hindu calendar. (Normally on 14 April or 13 April depending on Leap year). Hindus celebrate the new year by paying respects to their parents and other elders and seek their blessings. They also exchange tokens of good wishes for healthy and prosperous year ahead.
- Israel is one country that uses the Gregorian calendar but does not formally celebrate the New Year's holiday — mainly due to objections by religious parties on the holiday's non-Jewish origins. However, there are Israeli Jews who partake in some sort of celebration. The date of the Jewish new year is celebrated on Rosh Hashanah no matter where the location.
- Japanese New Year in Japan is celebrated on January 1 because the Gregorian calendar is now used instead of the Chinese calendar.
- Nowruz which has been celebrated for over 3,000 years, is celebrated and observed by Iranian people and the related cultural continentand has spread in many other parts of the world, including parts of Central Asia, South Asia, Northwestern China, the Crimea and some groups in the Balkans. Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in Iranian calendar. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed. As well as being a Zoroastrian holiday and having significance amongst the Zoroastrian ancestors of modern Iranians, the same time is celebrated in the Indian sub-continent as the new year. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year and Iranian families gather together to observe the rituals.