People all around the world have been celebrating the start of a new year for at least four millennia. For most, the New Year’s festivities begin on December 31st, which is the last day of the Gregorian calendar, and continue on through the night to January 1st. A common thing to do on this holiday is attend parties, eat special New Year’s foods, make resolutions for the New Year and watch fireworks.
The earliest recorded celebrations of the New Year date back to 4,000 years ago when the Babylonians tracked the first new moon following the vernal equinox. For these people, this day is around late March where there are equal amounts of sunlight and darkness in the day. For this celebration, they have a festival called Akitu where they practice a different ritual for eleven days.
Throughout history, civilizations all around the world began to develop more sophisticated calendars, typically deciding when the first day of the New Year would be based on an agricultural or astronomical event. In Egypt, the year began with the annual flooding of the Nile and the first day of the Chinese New Year occurred with the second new moon after the winter solstice.
Today, there are many traditions that other countries practice to celebrate the New Year. In Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries, people bolt down a dozen grapes to symbolize their hopes for the months ahead. Because pigs represent progress and prosperity in some cultures, pork appears on the New Year’s Eve table in countries like Cuba, Austria, Hungary, Portugal and many other countries. Ring-shaped cakes and pastries represent the year coming around full circle. Lastly, the practice of making resolutions for the New Year is thought to have come from the ancient Babylonians who made promises in order to earn the favor of gods and start the year off on the right foot.
How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve? Let us know what your New Year’s resolutions are by contacting the Housing Buzz team!