We are in the middle of New Years and many celebrate it in different ways. Some will find the celebration an opportunity to eat, drink and be merry. Others will celebrate in front of their TVs as they watch four celebrations beginning with the ball falling in Time Square New York and then watching America cheer in the New Year three hours later in Las Vegas. Still others will snooze through the revelry, oblivious to the occasion. Some will even attend mid-night religious services and pray for various aspects of the year to come.

While we may think of New Years as a relatively recent holiday or even view it as a development coming from ancient Rome 2000 years ago; New Year’s actually began an amazingly 4,000 years in the past. Mesopotamia, located in modern day Iraq, began celebrating New Year’s approximately 2,000 BC. Rome began celebrating New Years in 153 BC. (Before Christ) The day was dedicated to the Roman God Janus, for whom the first month of the year, January, was named for.

Julius Caesar reformed the calendar in 56 BC and following his assassination the Roman Senate deified (idolize) Caesar on January 1st. Later New Year’s Day would take a religious tone and the change of the year happened in the Spring and coincided with the Spring Equinox which had Jewish religious significance. Eventually Pope Gregory declared that the New Year would take place 8 days after the celebration of Jesus’s birth and thus January 1st became the official day to celebrate the beginning of a New Year.

Other countries celebrate New Years but many of these countries do not use January 1st to mark the beginning to the new year. Ethiopia still uses an Ancient Calendar and marks the new year on September 11th, This coincides with the end of the Summer rain season. The Chinese new year falls between January 20th and February 20th. Thailand celebrates on either April 13th or 14th. All of Europe with one exception uses January 1st to mark the yearly change. This one exception is Gwaun Valley, Pembrokeshire, Wales where January uses January 13 to change the year.

Middle East celebrations fall during different times. The Jewish New Year falls in September or October. The Muslims use a lunar calendar and not the Gregorian calendar of the rest of the world. This means that New Years falls 11 days earlier each year. The Iranians use September 21st, the first day of Spring to mark the beginning of the new year.

America has taken the event to a new level. Sports, especially football, dominate New Years Day. Americans are also famous for making New Years resolutions. America is also famous for breaking the same resolutions. Parades adorn the holiday and the Tournament of Roses parade is legendary. Most enjoyable is the time with family as many come together for a meal of cabbage and black eyed peas.

Let’s make 2016 a great year to remember. Happy New Year Everyone.

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