Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Day


Today we celebrate the oldest of all holidays, one which dates back to ancient Babylon of about 4000 years ago. The Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon (actually the first visible cresent) after the Vernal Equinox (first day of spring) and was the beginning of their spring.

Spring is, of course, the season of rebirth, and was therefore the logical time to start a new year. With spring came the planting of new crops, and of blossoming.

The Babylonian new year celebration lasted for eleven days. Each day had its own particular celebration. The Romans also observe the new year in late March, but their calendar was continually altered through history and eventually lost astronomical connection.

In 153 BC, the Roman Senate declared January 1 to be the beginning of the new year until Julius Caesar, in 46 BC, established what has come to be known as the Julian Calendar.

Although in the first centuries AD the Romans continued to celebrate the holiday, the early Catholic Church condemned the festivities as paganistic and instead the early church began having its own religious observances concurrently with many of the pagan celebrations.

Today, our own New Year Eve's celebration with bonfires, spirits, good food, and festivities, seems much more like the celebrations of old.......and the quieter hours (spent at home or visiting others) perhaps seems more suited to New Year's Day resolutions for better health, deeper friendships and best wishes for all.

Hope you and yours have/had a good one!

seen above:
a celebratory bonfire out North Douglas Highway,near Juneau, Alaska

1 comment:

  1. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Birthday! Lots of holidays for you for sure. I'm sorry your family wasn't able to make it on time, but I'm glad they all made it eventually, and you were able to celebrate belatedly.
    I went to bed early New Year's Eve. I decided I wasn't going to stay up because I was "supposed to." I was tired. Yesterday, my daughter was in a grumpy mood, so I spent it quietly staying away from her!

    ReplyDelete

Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.