New Year’s Day (January, 1)

General Information

New Year’s Day, also simply called New Year[disputed – discuss] or New Year’s[disputed – discuss], is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar. It is a public holiday in Great Britain, in the USA, in the Commonwealth and in many other counties. Today, many countries use the Gregorian calendar as their de facto calendar, New Year’s Day is probably the most celebrated public holiday, often observed with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts in each time zone. Other global New Year’s Day traditions include making New Year’s resolutions and calling one’s friends and family.

Historical Background

In pre-Christian Rome Empire under the Julian calendar, the day was dedicated to Janus, god of gateways and beginnings, for whom January is also named. As a date in the Gregorian calendar of Christendom, New Year’s Day liturgically marked the Feast of the Naming and Circumcision of Jesus, which is still observed as such in the Anglican Church and Lutheran Church.

Many European nations officially adopted January 1 as New Year’s Day somewhat before they adopted the Gregorian Calendar. In Tudor England, New Year’s Day, along with Christmas Day and Twelfth Night, was celebrated as one of three main festivities among the twelve days of Christmastide. Pope Gregory acknowledged January 1 as the beginning of the new year according to his reform of the Catholic Liturgical Calendar.