New Year 2024: Why do we celebrate New Year on January 1? All you need to know - Hindustan Times

New Year 2024: Why do we celebrate New Year on January 1? History, significance, traditions and all you need to know

Dec 31, 2023 07:25 PM IST

As the final moments of the year unfold and the world eagerly anticipates the arrival of New Year. Explore why we mark the beginning of the year on January 1.

As the clock strikes midnight and fireworks light up the sky, people around the world will come together to welcome the New Year on January 1st. We're sure you've got your New Year's Eve party planned and your clothes ready. On January 1, the world will bid farewell to 2023 and welcome the New Year 2024 with the promise of a more prosperous and brighter future. On this day people gather with friends and family on 31st December, New Year's Eve, to celebrate the wonderful occasion with gifts, sumptuous feasts, parties and more. From elaborate fireworks displays to intimate family gatherings, New Year traditions encapsulate the essence of bidding farewell to the old and embracing the promise of the new. The start of a new year represents joy, strength and optimism for a better future. Find out more about the origins of the New Year on January 1, its history, significance, traditions and more. (Also read: Happy New Year's Eve: Best wishes, images, quotes, SMS, greetings, WhatsApp and Facebook status to share with loved ones )

New Year 2024: Why do we celebrate New Year on January 1? All you need to know(Unsplash)
New Year 2024: Why do we celebrate New Year on January 1? All you need to know(Unsplash)

New Year 2024 History: Why is January 1 celebrated as New Year?

January 1st was first observed as the start of the new year in 45 BC. Before that, the Roman calendar began in March and lasted 355 days. After coming to power, Roman dictator Julius Caesar changed the calendar. In part to honour the month's namesake, Janus, the Roman god of beginnings whose two faces allowed him to look forward into the future as well as backwards into the past, made 1 January the first day of the year.

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However, it wasn't widely accepted in Europe until well into the middle of the 16th century. After the introduction of Christianity, December 25, the day of Jesus' birth, was accepted and January 1, the start of the new year, was considered heathen. It wasn't until Pope Gregory changed the Julian calendar to make January 1 the official start of the year that it became accepted.

Furthermore, it is thought that the new year began approximately 2,000 BC, or over 4,000 years ago, in ancient Babylon. On the first new moon following the vernal equinox, usually in late March, the Babylonians celebrated the new year with an 11-day celebration called Akitu, which included a distinct ceremony on each of the days.

New Year 2024: Significance and traditions

The start of a new year is more than just the turning of a page; it's a time for everyone to take stock of their lives and make a fresh start. Around the world, the beginning of a new year symbolises a fresh start and a sense of hope, encouraging people to set goals and seize new opportunities. In many countries, New Year's Eve falls on 31 December and celebrations continue into the early hours of 1 January. Foods and snacks believed to bring good luck are consumed by revellers. Around the world, people celebrate with customs such as singing songs and watching fireworks. As the New Year is a great opportunity for good change, many people write down their resolutions for the coming year.

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