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New Year

The New Year
History and Celebrations

The New Year has been as bouncy as a ball in its date of celebration all through the ages. It begins only on the first day of January for cultures that use the 365 day solar calendar. Julius Caesar created a calendar to reflect the change of seasons more accurately than previous calendars had. This calendar was created in the year 46 BC A little interesting tidbit here is that in order to synchronize the new calendar with the sun, Julius Caesar had to let the previous year drag on for 445 days

The name of the month, January, got its name from the Roman god Janus. Janus is the God of Beginnings and the Guardian of Doors and Entrances.

In ancient Babylon (around 400 years ago) late March was a logical choice for celebrating the beginning of a New Year. It was logical because spring is beginning and new crops are planted. Although they had no written calendar, they celebrated this holiday on what is now March 23.

During the Middle Ages, Christians changed New Years Day to December 25th, to match the birth of Jesus. Later they changed it to March 25th, a holiday called the Annunciation. Then later, Pope Gregory XIII revised the Julian calendar, and also returned the celebration of the New Year to the first of January. Interesting to note: there is no lunar or stellar significance associated with the date the first of January.

Some other oddities: Egyptians celebrate their Sekhmet on January 7.  In ancient times, the Scots celebrated a new year on January 11. Eastern Orthodox celebrates on January 14. The Celts on the 21st of January. The Koreans chose to celebrate at sunset on the day of the second new moon after the Winter Solstice. The Tibetans (Losar) is celebrated also in late January or early February when it is time for the New Moon.  Many Middle Eastern cultures still use March 21 as their beginning of the New Year. The Ancient Greeks picked the day of Summer Solstice for their celebration. The Armenians used to celebrate on July 9.

Some Superstitions

It was believed that cupboards stocked up with food, wallets and purses that were filled with money would bring prosperity in New Year. Then again, empty pockets or empty cupboards on New Year’s Eve foretold a year of poverty.

Pay your bills and loans before New Year Eve, so you don't have any debt left for New Year. Good idea!

In several societies washing dishes and doing laundry on New Year's day is said to lead to a death in the family during the year.

People believed that Evil One and his attendants and servants hate loud noise. So, they scared them off by being as loud in New Year celebrations as possible. Church bells are rung at midnight for the same reason. So that is how that started!!!!

It was believed that kissing at midnight ensured that affections and ties would continue throughout the New Year. On similar lines, it is said, to not do this would set the stage for a year of coldness.

One must never leave the home before someone comes in first. First footer in the house should be ushered in with a warm welcome and should not have flat feet, cross-eyes or eyebrows stretching out to meet in the middle. It would be even better if he came bearing certain small gifts.

The direction of wind during sunrise on New Year morning held prophesies about the coming year. Wind from south foretold of fine weather and prosperous times ahead while wind from north foretold of bad weather. Wind blowing from east foretold of natural calamities and wind from west foretold of plenty of milk and fish. No wind meant joy and prosperity throughout the coming year.

To dance in the open air, especially round a tree on New Year's Day, ensured luck in love and prosperity and freedom from ill health during the next twelve months.

chinese lanterns

This is how one says "Happy New Year" around the World:

Arabic: Kul 'aam u antum salimoun
Brazilian: Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo means "Good Parties and Happy New Year"
Chinese:   Chu Shen Tan
Czechoslavakia: Scastny Novy Rok
Dutch:  Gullukkig Niuw Jaar
Finnish: Onnellista Uutta Vuotta
French: Bonne Annee
German: Prosit Neujahr
Greek: Eftecheezmaenos o Kaenooryos hronos
Hebrew: L'Shannah Tovah Tikatevu
Hindi: Niya Saa Moobaarak
Irish (Gaelic): Bliain nua fe mhaise dhuit
Italian: Buon Capodanno
Khmer: Sua Sdei tfnam tmei

Auld Lang Syne

And of course, the song we sing, that no one knows the words past the first two lines, lol, Auld Lang Syne. This song is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English- speaking country in the world to ring in the New Year. In spite of the popularity of 'Auld Lang Syne', it has aptly been described as the song that nobody knows. Even in Scotland, nobody can sing it correctly, every one singing mixes it up or makes up the words as they go along. And have you ever noticed how loudly we all bellow the wrong words?

Written by Robert Burns in 1741, it was first published in 1796 after Burns' death. "Auld Lang Syne" literally means "old long ago," or simply, "the good old days."


Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne
We twa hae run aboot the braes
And pou'd the gowans fine;
we've wander'd mony a weary foot
Sin' auld lang syne
We two hae paidled i' the burn,
Frae mornin' sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin' auld lang syne
And here's a hand, my trusty friend,
And gie's a hand o' thine;
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne

And with that... I wish you all a Happy Healthy New Year xoxox.



Written Kimberlee Mystic Familiar 2009

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