Happy New Year! In honor of this day, we decided to take a look back at the history of New Year's and all the different traditions associated with it.
A Brief History of New Years Day in America
New Year's Day falls on January 1 and marks the start of a new year according to the Gregorian calendar. It marks the end of New Year's Eve celebrations in the United States and gives many Americans a chance to reflect on the previous year.
The start of New Year's Day, at midnight, is heralded by fireworks, parties and special events, many of which are often televised. Very few people have to work on the day itself.
For many it is a day of recovery from the New Year's Eve celebrations the previous night.
In some towns and cities, parades are held and special football games are played.
The birth of the first baby in the New Year is often celebrated with gifts to his or her parents and appearances in local newspapers and on local news shows.
Many people make New Year's resolutions. These are usually promises made to themselves to improve something or some area in their own lives. Common New Year's resolutions are to stop smoking or drinking alcohol, to lose weight, exercise more or to live a healthier lifestyle.
The Gregorian calendar is widely used in many countries such as the United States. This was introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII. The Julian calendar that had been in use until then was slightly inaccurate, causing the vernal equinox to move backwards in the calendar year.
The Gregorian calendar was not accepted everywhere and some churches, particularly with origins in Eastern Europe, still use other calendars. According to the Gregorian calendar, the first day of the year is January 1.
A common symbol of New Year's Day is Baby New Year. Who is typically depicted in a diaper, with a top hat and a sash upon which the year he represents is printed. According to mythology, Baby New Year grows up and ages in a single year. At the end of the year he is an old man and hands his role over to the next Baby New Year.
Other symbols of New Year's Day are spectacular fireworks exploding over landmarks and clocks striking midnight as the year begins.