Dereje Amera Personal Posts

The New Year Philosophy

Posted on: 1 Jan 2018

January 1, 2018

History and researches furnish us with the history of New Year in way societies celebrate with their own respective customs and traditions as well. Especially, the celebration of the New Year on January 1st is a relatively new phenomenon. The earliest recording of a New Year celebration is believed to have been in Mesopotamia, c. 2000 B.C. and was celebrated around the time of the vernal equinox, in mid-March. A variety of other dates tied to the seasons were also used by various ancient cultures. The Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians began their new year with the fall equinox, and the Greeks celebrated it on the winter solstice.

The early Roman calendar designated March 1 as the New Year. The calendar had just ten months, beginning with March. That the New Year once began with the month of March is still reflected in some of the names of the months. September through December, our ninth through twelfth months, were originally positioned as the seventh through tenth months (septem is Latin for “seven,” octo is “eight,” novem is “nine,” and decem is “ten.”

The first time the new year was celebrated on January 1st was in Rome in 153 B.C. (In fact, the month of January did not even exist until around 700 B.C., when the second king of Rome, Numa Pontilius, added the months of January and February.) The new year was moved from March to January because that was the beginning of the civil year, the month that the two newly elected Roman consuls—the highest officials in the Roman republic—began their one-year tenure. But this New Year date was not always strictly and widely observed, and the new year was still sometimes celebrated on March 1.

In 46 B.C. Julius Caesar introduced a new, solar-based calendar that was a vast improvement on the ancient Roman calendar, which was a lunar system that had become wildly inaccurate over the years. The Julian calendar decreed that the New Year would occur with January 1, and within the Roman world, January 1 became the consistently observed start of the New Year.

In medieval Europe, however, the celebrations accompanying the New Year were considered pagan and unchristian like, and in 567 the Council of Tours abolished January 1 as the beginning of the year. At various times and in various places throughout medieval Christian Europe, the new year was celebrated on Dec. 25, the birth of Jesus; March 1; March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation; and Easter.

In 1582, the Gregorian calendar reform restored January 1 as New Year’s Day. Although most Catholic countries adopted the Gregorian calendar almost immediately, it was only gradually adopted among Protestant countries. The British, for example, did not adopt the reformed calendar until 1752. Until then, the British Empire —and their American colonies— still celebrated the New Year in March.

New Year is one of the celebrations which human society enjoys since there is common belief and thinking that every New Year brings new hopes and opportunities. Because of cultural complexity, it was necessary to combine both religions and nationalities on one chart. Clearly, some people in these countries may have different religious or cultural traditions. Multiple-day holidays are marked on their first day. Holidays that start in the evenings are marked on the day of the Gregorian calendar on which that evening falls.

The Islamic New Year, also known as Arabic New Year or Hijri New Year is the day that marks the beginning of a new Islamic calendar year, and is the day on which the year count is incremented. The first day of the year is observed on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar. The first Islamic year begins in 622 AD with the emigration of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, known as the Hijra. All religious duties, such as prayer, fasting in the month of Ramadan, and pilgrimage, and the dates of significant events, such as celebration of holy nights and festivals, are calculated according to the lunar calendar. In 2017, New Year was celebrated after sunset of September 20-September21 of 2017; in 2018, sunset of September 11-September 12, 2018, and in 2019, it will fall on sunset of August 31-September 2019. It varies based on the counting methods.

Chinese Lunar New Year begins at the new moon that falls between 21 January and 20 February and the same is true to Koreans and Vietnamese as well. March 20 is a new Year to Iranians. April 8 is a new year to Indians. April 13-15 is a new year to Thai. April 14 is a new year to Sri Lanka. October 2-4 is a new Yea to Jews. September 11 is a new year to Ethiopians. January 1 is a new year to western world such as Europe and North America. And many other societies have their own New Year dates based on their given rational and customs as well.

Does New Year have historical connection with religious grounds, or it is just a natural conditions and factors related to weather changes or it is connected with societal and cultural grounds in which kings and monarchs are the ones who did design it? Is New Year celebrated based on religious festivity and conditions, or due to seasonal factors and conditions or cultural aspects and conditions of society or what else should be considered as well? What is the true or right precondition or true requirement that makes any given single date to be a new year?

What makes a day to be a new year? Is it because it falls between spring and autumn, or summer and winter, or it is start of rainy season, or sunny times? Why? What is the rational and logic behind designating any single date to be a new year? Is it possible to designate one single date to be as a new year based on how this cosmos naturally operates and function than religious, cultural or national agreements or conditions?

The history and celebration of new year in most societies is mostly connected with the way and thinking kings and monarchs used to do in the olden days and times celebrate whose rational and logic might not have reasonable or convincing logic on picking such dates to be a year in today since they were doing things in what and how their morals and consciousness dictate, as matter of fact, science was not that much developed and they might not have enough time and capacity to rationalize on such kind of things to a further level as well. And based on their given customs and traditions, things keep on going in the way things were in past.

Most people look for New Year in order to do something or achieve something in their given life? Even if there is no wrong and bad to plan and hope new and better things as the New Year comes, why do we need a new year in order to do something new and better things in life? If people use every day and time in rational and organized manner, should people need another matters such as New Year to do and plan something in order to achieve something in their given life? Do we have to wait New Year to come in order to change things in life or people should change in their given life in every minute and seconds of their given life?

What is quite impractical in here is that the way governments and institutions design and operate their budget and plan which is based on such calendars and this has bring to their given attention that they cannot change certain things due to the way this world is already designed to function and activate, but, at an individual life, if change should come to any ordinary individual given life, an individual is not like any government body who functions for fiscal periods since one can do it at any given point of time, but the point is one’s will and determination than waiting for the periods to change since it is not the period that changes individuals life, but one’s own conviction and determination that can bring about change.

Most people cherish New Year with exchange of gifts to the their relatives and beloved ones and they in fact celebrate with profound spirit of joy and festivity so that the New Year shall bring about peace, prosperity and happiness to their beloved, society and nation as well. Such custom and tradition is one the most special and profound bestowals and treasures this world has offered from generation to generation since there are always few special days that deserve special attention and reverence so that life can have better quality, taste and flavor. All days are equal, but few days are more equal.

Some history parts taken from:


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