Nearly the entire world recognizes New Year’s Day on January 1st. It’s also one of the most celebrated holidays of the year.
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.
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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.
- In Holland, they toast to the new year with spiced wine, 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.
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NEW YEAR’S DAY HISTORY
The new year has been celebrated for millennia. The earliest record of new year’s celebrations occurred during Babylonian times. However, January 1st wasn’t always the designated day. For example, the first new moon after the vernal equinox ushered in the new year at one time. 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.