January 1st marks the beginning of a New Year, a year of new beginnings, new hopes, and new adventures. But why January 1st? To fully understand this, we must travel back in time, back to antiquity. The Ancient Romans began the new year in the middle of March. This was logical because at this time of year life begins to emerge from the dead of winter. Leaves begin turning green, flower buds sprout from the ground, and signs of new life are everywhere. Hibernating animals awake from their slumber and baby animals take their first steps.
Then along came Julius Caesar with his own ideas. During a trip to Egypt, Caesar had seen a marvelous, intriguing calendar. He brought it back to Rome where he and his scholars began to interpret and tamper with it to create the Julian Calendar. Unfortunately, while making these changes they completely lost the accurateness of the Egyptian calendar. During this time, they decided that January 1st would begin the new year.
After years of editing and corruption of the Julian Calendar, Pope Gregory XIII established the Gregorian Calendar in 1582. This calendar solidified the dates and was thought to better encompass the four seasons. Most countries use this calendar today.
There were and are other calendars used around the world. The Aztec, the Hindu, the lunar, and the Jewish calendars are a few examples. Asian countries follow the lunar calendar and celebrate the New Year in January or February while Diwali begins the New Year in India in October or November. The Jewish New Year commences in late September to early October.
For all people the New Year is a time of celebration. It is a time to reflect on our past, to forgive others, and to make amends. It is a time to look forward to our futures and to cherish our family and friends.
An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in.
A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.
To everyone, everywhere, we wish you a Happy New Year.
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