The new year is almost here and while we are all busy making plans about how to celebrate it, have you ever wondered why we celebrate New Year on 1st January and not on 1st February or 1st March? If you have, you probably already know what we are about to tell you but if you don’t, you’re at the right place.
Way back in time, Romans had a God named Janus who was the God of doorways and beginnings. Janus had two faces, one in the front to look forward to the future and one at the back to look behind at the past. The name of the month January came from Roman God Janus’ name.
At the time of creating the Julian calendar, Julius Caesar found it appropriate to have January as the first month of the year as it symbolises the doorway to a new year.
The calendar-makers in earlier days were unaware of the fact that there’s an astronomical logic behind beginning the year on January 1.
Earth is always closest to the sun in its yearly orbit around this time.
This event is called Earth’s perihelion and hence, it’s another reason to mark a new beginning.
One the logical reasons behind celebrating 1st January as New Year is also because of the Northern hemisphere witnesses the shortest day of the year in December and by early January, our days start lengthening again.
The first new year celebration is believed to be recorded in the state of Mesopotamia, Circa 2000 B.C.
After this many other ancient celebrations of the new year followed. These were celebrated around March 20, the time of the vernal equinox. While, the Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians began their new year with the autumnal equinox around September 20, the Greeks celebrated it on the winter solstice, around December 20.
In multiple places, the new year began in March during the Middle Ages. Though it is believed that in the 16th century a movement started to restore January 1st as New Year’s day.
This report was published in Indiatimes