An interesting topic of introspective thought for yourself, whether you do this while compiling New Year’s resolutions or just while in the shower washing your hair, is why we celebrate New Year on the first of January. Why January? Well, this does sound a little out there at the moment, but it turns out that it wasn’t just us as at Sir Holiday who had this question burning throughout our minds, many other people did too. Or at least history professors and other academics felt this question burning within their minds and so we thought it was our responsibility to investigate. Therefore, let us delve into the many reasons why we chose January the first as the official day to celebrate New Year’s.
Our calendar that we all know and love is based on the Julian calendar, made upon the request of deceased Emperor Julius Caesar, and this calendar had to meet very specific requirements. The calendar had to follow one complete rotation of the sun, meaning it followed the movement of the Earth around the sun perfectly once; this calendar was 365 days in length and followed the solar and lunar movements precisely. This particular calendar began the years on the first of January, however as with all things in human history someone came along and said it’s time to reinvent the wheel not long after.
Why you may ask did someone seek to ruin the well working calendarsystem, with its every fourth year a leap year system, well because the Roman Empire fell and as always with a change of leadership there is more than a little chaos. Unfortunately, there were far more important things at the time to deal with than calendars and the calendar went slightly into a bit of shambles. The Church moved to have the calendar aligned with Christian holy dates and for the New Year to now begin on December 25th or rather Christmas. Later it shifted to begin in March, or the month when Jesus Christ became baptised and therefore became infused with the Holy Spirit.
Then of course, people shifted back to the Julian calendar only to discover that the original astronomers due to drawbacks in technology at the time had make errors with dates and therefore the leap year was occurring at the wrong time. At first this was just a mere annoyance, however by the 1500’s people had had enough. The Christian holidays were falling on completely the wrong days, the equinox dates were either too early or too late and certain holidays weren’t even in the correct season. People were finished.
Therefore the Church came up with a plan and now we have the Gregorian calendar, which insisted that New Year’s be put back on the 1st of January and finally we have managed to stick with something till now. Although the road hasn’t necessarily been smooth with the Gregorian calendar, England initially tried to reject it after removing ties with the Church, it has come out in the end and that is why we celebrate New Year’s on the 1st of January.
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