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How did the celebration of New Year’s Eve begin?
New Year’s Eve is one of the oldest holidays celebrated, but the exact date and nature of the festivities has changed over time. The ancient Babylonians were the first recorded observers of New Year festivities some 4,000 years ago. They celebrated the beginning of the New Year in March, when spring begins with the Vernal Equinox. The beginning of spring was a logical time to start a new year of growth and fertility.
The Romans also celebrated the New Year in March, but there were so many adjustments to their calendar by their rulers (most likely to extend their terms of office), that calendar dates were no longer synchronized with any astronomical movements.
Then, Julius Caesar established January 1 as the first day of the year. The 1st of January was a holiday dedicated to the pagan god Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future.
Roman pagans greeted January 1st by engaging in drunken orgies—a ritual which was a personal representation of the chaotic world that existed before the cosmos was ordered by the gods.
Wishing you a fun New Year’s Eve …
Out with the old, in with the new
Happy New Year 2016!