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New Year History
Around the World : New Year is celebrated all around the world though not at a single time. This is because people in different parts of the world use different calendars. Some calendars are based on the movement of the moon; others are based on the position of the sun, while others are based on both the sun and the moon. All over the world, there are special beliefs about New Year.

Ancient Egypt : In ancient Egypt, New Year was celebrated near the end of September when River Nile flooded. The flooding of the Nile was considered very important because without it, the people would not have been able to grow crops in the dry desert. At New Year, statues of the god, Amon and his wife and son were taken up the Nile by boat. Singing, dancing, and feasting was done for a month, and then the statues were taken back to the temple.

Babylonia : Babylonia lay in what is now the country of Iraq. Their New Year was in the Spring season. At this time they celebrate the arrival of the spring rains and the renewal of nature, as well as the renewal of the community.

On day three the king is put through the ritual of humiliation. All of his powers are removed and a priest, who tells him he must go and pray for forgiveness of his sins, hits him in the face. Three days later he reappears and is absolved. His royal crest is restored, ceremonies are performed to ensure that nature will support him during the coming year and then he takes part in a procession. After the procession the next three days are full of chaotic activities of all sorts. On the very last day, that is the tenth day of the festival, a banquet was held to celebrate the restoration of order to the society or the community.

The Romans : For many years the Romans celebrated New Year on the first of March. Then, in 46 BC, the Emperor Julius Caesar began a new calendar. It was the calendar that we still use today, and thus the New Year date was changed to the first day of January. January is named after the Roman god Janus, who was always shown as having two heads. He looked back to the last year and forward to the new one. The Roman New Year festival was called the Calends, and people decorated their homes and gave each other gifts. Slaves and their masters ate and drank together, and people could do what they wanted to for a few days.

The Celts : The Celts were the people who lived in Gaul, now called France, and parts of Britain before the Romans arrived there. Their New Year festival was called Samhain. It took place at the end of October, and Samhain means 'summer's end'.At Samhain, the Celts gathered mistletoe to keep ghosts away, because they believed this was the time when the ghosts of the dead returned to haunt the living.

Some information were compiled from various sources available freely on the Internet. Credits are fully given to the known authors of any material that was used to put this article together.

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