Just the Facts Ma’am

Here’s all you need to know to decide how to celebrate your New Year…

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New Year History

  • Over 4000 years ago the Babylonians started New Year celebrations.
  • They celebrated the New Year with the first full moon after the vernal (spring) equinox.
  • Akitu was an 11 day religious festival celebrating the harvest of barley & other crops.
  • It also celebrated the sky god, Marduk, who triumphed over evil.
  • Babylonians made promises (resolutions) or offerings to their gods to gain favor.

    Artwork courtesy of www.planetminecraft.com

    Artwork courtesy of www.planetminecraft.com

  • The Roman Empire started messing with the calendar.
  • They designed a year with 10 months & 304 days starting on the vernal equinox.
  • Over the centuries, that calendar fell out of sync with the sun.
  •  In 46 B.C. the emperor Julius Caesar introduced the Julian calendar.
  • It resembles our Gregorian calendar with January 1 as the first day of the year.
  • This was done to honor the month’s namesake: Janus, the Roman god of beginnings.
  • Janus had two faces allowing him to look back into the past & forward into the future.
  • He’s also the patron & protector of arches, gates, doors, endings & beginnings.
  • Romans celebrated the new year by offering sacrifices to Janus, exchanging gifts with one another, decorating their homes & attending wild parties.
  • “New Years resolutions” in Rome were moral resolutions: mostly to be good to others.
  • When the Roman Empire took Christianity as its state religion in the 4th century, these moral intentions were replaced by prayers and fasting.

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Throughout history New Year celebrations have been split along those same line with some celebrating loudly, cheerfully, & with excess, while others celebrate with quiet reflection & contemplation. It seems to me that New Year’s Resolutions seem to fit in either category.

New Year Traditions

  • New Year’s celebrations begin on December 31 – New Year’s Eve – & continue into January 1 & food always seems to play an important role.
  • Grapes eaten just before midnight are the food of luck & choice in Spain & several other Spanish-speaking countries.
  • Beans are thought to resemble coins & insure financial success…Lentils are traditional in Italy & black eyed peas in our own south.
  • Pigs represent progress & prosperity…pork appears on tables in Cuba, Austria, Hungary, Portugal & other countries.
  • Ring shaped cakes & pastries, symbolizing that the year has come full circle appear in the Netherlands, Mexico, & Greece.
  • In Sweden & Norway rice pudding with an almond hidden inside is served on New Year’s Eve. Whoever finds the nut can expect 12 months of good fortune.
  • Other customs include watching fireworks & singing songs to welcome the new year, including the ever-popular “Auld Lang Syne” in many English-speaking countries.

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So there you have it…New Year’s in a nutshell. Now all you have to do is decide how you want to spend your time. Rowdy or quiet, solitude or camaraderie, fasting or feasting, & the all important question…Do I or do I not make resolutions?

Whatever your choices, I hope you enjoy saying goodbye to the old & ringing in the new!

Me…I’m off to find my party hat!!!

A princess' addiction to fashion starts early !!!

 

About Diane

a long time lover of all things aquatic...swimming, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling...if it involves water...I'm in. Add traveling, snowshoeing in the winter, gardening in the spring, & lots of fresh air & sunshine. Blend with cooking, crafting, great friends & my Border Collie Zack. Toss in some sweet beekeeping. Mix in a couple of great books, my camera, clean notebook paper, & a cool pen & you pretty much have a picture of me. My friends tell me I should also add..."once a teacher...always a teacher".
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One Response to Just the Facts Ma’am

  1. Meredith Grider says:

    Wow…lots of information and I thoroughly enjoyed knowing about all of the debauchery. I guess, truth be known, I’ve been there, done that!!!

    >

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