Happy New Year! On New Year’s Day, you join the multitudes of peoples who have celebrated the event throughout history. Though customs changed and people were vastly different through the ages, the thought was the same: The new year offered an opportunity for beginning again.
New Year’s Day is the oldest of all holidays, first observed in Babylon more than 4,000 years ago. The celebration began with the first visible crescent of the new moon after the vernal equinox or first day of spring. And it lasted for eleven days, each with its own type of festivities.
The Babylonians also claim first rights to the tradition of New Year’s resolutions. Their most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment!
The Romans observed the new year in late March, but in order to synchronize the calendar with the sun, the Roman senate declared January 1 to be the beginning of the new year. To do it right, Julius Caesar had to let the previous year last for 445 days!
Using a baby to symbolize the new year was first done in Greece around 600 B.C. The Germans added a New Year’s banner to the infant.
Some thought the first visitor of the new year would bring either good or bad luck in the coming year. A dark-haired man was thought to be a lucky omen.
It was said that luck in the coming year was determined by what you ate on the first day. In Spain, people ate grapes. The Dutch believed eating donuts brought good fortune. In some parts of the U.S., black-eyed peas with ham are favored. The hog is considered lucky because some say it symbolizes prosperity.
Corned beef and cabbage are another lucky favorite, especially cabbage because the leaves symbolize prosperity. And in some areas, rice is the lucky food.
In most areas of the world, making resolutions or goals to improve one’s life are at the forefront, and most gather together with friends and family to ring in the new year together.
We wish you and your loved ones the best of luck and happiness in the upcoming new year of 2018.