One of the oldest customs of mankind is the celebration of the New Year. How did it begin? Some people say the Chinese were the first to start it, others believe it was the ancient Germans, and still, others claim it was the Romans. We know that the Chinese have always had a great festival at the time of their New Year, which comes later than ours. The Chinese New Year festivals last several days.
The ancient Germans established a New Year festival because of the changing seasons. The German winter began about the middle of November. This was the time when they gathered the harvest. Because everybody came together at this time for the happy occasion, and because it meant they would have a period of rest from work afterward, they would make merry and have a great holiday. Even though it was only November, they considered it the beginning of a new year!
When the Romans conquered Europe, they changed this time of celebration to the first of January. For them, the coming of the New Year was a symbol of starting up a new life with new hope for the future. This custom and this meaning have lasted to this day. We green the New Year happily, hoping it will bring us a good, new life!
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Gregorian Calendar: January 1st Restored.