New Year

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search
New Year's Eve celebration in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

New Year is the time at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar's year count is incremented. In many cultures, the event is celebrated in some manner.[1] The New Year of the Gregorian calendar, today in worldwide use, falls on 1 January (New Year's Day), as was the case with the Roman calendar. There are numerous calendars that remain in regional use that calculate the New Year differently.

The order of months in the Roman calendar was January to December since the reign of King Numa Pompilius in about 700 BC, according to Plutarch and Macrobius. It was only relatively recently that 1 January again became the first day of the year in Western culture. Until 1751 in England and Wales (and all British dominions) the new year started on 25 March – Lady Day, one of the four quarter days (the change to 1 January took place in 1600 in Scotland).[2] Since then, 1 January has been the first day of the year. During the Middle Ages several other days were variously taken as the beginning of the calendar year (1 March, 25 March, Easter, 1 September, 25 December).[citation needed][where?] In many countries, such as the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain and the UK, 1 January is a national holiday.

For information about the changeover from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar and the effect on the dating of historical events etc., see Old Style and New Style dates.

With the expansion of Western culture to many other places in the world during recent centuries, the Gregorian calendar has been adopted by many other countries as the official calendar, and the 1 January date of New Year has become global, even in countries with their own New Year celebrations on other days (such as Israel, China and India). In the culture of Latin America there are a variety of traditions and superstitions surrounding these dates[clarification needed] as omens for the coming year. The most common modern dates of celebration are listed below, ordered and grouped by their appearance relative to the conventional Western calendar.

During the New Year celebrations held in Dubai to mark the start of 2014, the world record was broken for the most fireworks set off in a single display.[3] This display lasted for six minutes and saw the use of over 500,000 fireworks.

By month or season[edit]


Baby New Year 1905 chases old 1904 into the history books in this cartoon by John T. McCutcheon.



Mid-April (Northern spring)[edit]

The new year of many South and Southeast Asian calendars falls between 13 and 15 April, marking the beginning of spring.


Northern fall (autumn)[edit]


Christian liturgical year[edit]

Since the 17th century, the Roman Catholic ecclesiastic year has started on the first day of Advent, the Sunday nearest to St. Andrew's Day (30 November). According to the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, the liturgical year begins at 4:00 pm[dubious ] on the Saturday preceding the fourth Sunday prior to 25 December (between November 26 and December 2). The same liturgical calendar is followed by churches descended from it, including the Anglican and Lutheran Churches.

The Eastern Orthodox Church liturgical calendar begins on 1 September – proceeding annually from the Nativity of the Theotokos to the celebration of Jesus' birth in the winter (Christmas), through his death and resurrection in the spring (Pascha / Easter), to his Ascension and the Assumption of his mother (Dormition of the Theotokos / Virgin Mary) in the summer.

The coptic Orthodox Churches liturgical year starts on the feast of nayrouz, which up until the year 2099, will fall on September 11, excluding the years before leap years in which it will fall at September 12.

Historical Christian new year dates[edit]

During the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire years began on the date on which each consul first entered office. This was probably 1 May before 222 BC, 15 March from 222 BC to 154 BC, and 1 January from 153 BC.[7] In 45 BC, when Julius Caesar introduced the Julian calendar, and fixed 1 January as the first day of the year.

Later, with the dominance of Christianity, various dates for the New Year which had special significance to Christianity were adopted. For example, 1 January was associated with the incarnation of God’s son, Christ; 25 March was Annunciation Day or Lady Day. This is the day when Mary was informed by the Angel Gabriel that she would bear God’s son Jesus.

When William the Conqueror took over the reins of England, he ordered that 1 January be established as the New Year to collaborate it with his coronation and with the circumcision of Jesus (on the eighth day from his birth on December 25). However, this was abandoned later as they joined the rest of the Christian world to celebrate New Year on 25 March.

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII while reforming the Julian calendar established 1 January as the beginning of a New Year of the Gregorian calendar.

In the Middle Ages in Europe a number of significant feast days in the ecclesiastical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church came to be used as the beginning of the Julian year:

Adoption of 1 January[edit]

It took quite a long time before 1 January again became the universal or standard start of the civil year. The years of adoption of 1 January as the new year are as follows:

CountryStart year[10][11]
Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus[12][13]1362
Holy Roman Empire (~Germany)1544
Spain, Portugal, Poland1556
Prussia, Denmark[14] and Norway1559
France (Edict of Roussillon)1564
Southern Netherlands[15]1576
Dutch Republic1583
Britain, Ireland and
British Empire
except Scotland

1 March was the first day of the numbered year in the Republic of Venice until its destruction in 1797, and in Russia from 988 until 1492 (AM 7000). 1 September was used in Russia from 1492 until the adoption of the Christian era in 1700 via a December 1699 decree of Tsar Peter I (previously, Russia had counted years since the creation of the world—Anno Mundi).

Southward equinox day (usually 22 September) was "New Year's Day" in the French Republican Calendar, which was in use from 1793 to 1805. This was primidi Vendémiaire, the first day of the first month.

Time zones[edit]

Because of the division of the globe into time zones, the new year moves progressively around the globe as the start of the day ushers in the New Year. The first time zone to usher in the New Year is just west of the International Date Line. At that time the time zone to the east of the Date Line is 23 hours behind, still in the previous day. The central Pacific Ocean island nation of Kiribati claims that its easternmost landmass, uninhabited Caroline Island, is the first to usher in the New Year.[16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Anthony Aveni, "Happy New Year! But Why Now?" in The Book of the Year: A Brief History of Our Seasonal Holidays (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 11–28.
  2. ^ Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 (Act of the UK Parliament) - see also
  3. ^’s-eve-fireworks-world-record-54187/
  4. ^ Tek Web Visuals, Cochina. "New Year's Day". World e scan. Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  5. ^ Ben, Tzvi (22 September 2006). "Rosh Hashanah: Prayers, Shofars, Apples, Honey and Pomegranates". Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  6. ^ Aboriginal Tribes of Australia. Their Terrain, Environmental Controls, Distribution, Limits, and Proper Names Published 1974 page 27
  7. ^ Roman Dates: Eponymonous Years[dead link]
  8. ^ a b c d Ritter, R. M. (2005), New Hart's Rules:The Handbook of Style for Writers and Editors: The Handbook of Style for Writers and Editors, Oxford University Press, p. 194, ISBN 9780191650499 
  9. ^ Chambers, Robert (1885), Domestic Annals of Scotland, Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, p. 157 .[verification needed]
  10. ^ Mike Spathaky Old Style and New Style Dates and the change to the Gregorian Calendar: A summary for genealogists
  11. ^ "The Change of New Year's Day". 1 December 2003. Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  12. ^ Державні і професійні свята України та інші знаменні дати у січні 2012 року
  13. ^ Новоліття
  14. ^ Denmark named 1 January as the New Year in the early 14th century according to R.W. Bauer (Calender for Aarene fra 601 til 2200, 1868/1993 ISBN 87-7423-083-2) although the number of the year did not begin on 1 January until 1559.
  15. ^ Per decree of 16 June 1575. Hermann Grotefend, "Osteranfang" (Easter beginning), Zeitrechnung de Deutschen Mittelalters und der Neuzeit (Chronology of the German Middle Ages and modern times) (1891–1898)
  16. ^ Harris, Aimee (April 1999). "Millennium: Date Line Politics". Honolulu Magazine. Retrieved 14 June 2006. 
  17. ^ Greenwich (2008). "Greenwich Meantime, Kiribati". Kiribati Map. Retrieved 27 February 2008.