Happy New Year Sign with Gold balloons and confetti

Throughout history, the new year has always been celebrated with different traditions – earliest recordings dating back to ancient Babylonia! For the Babylonians, the new year began in Mid-March when new crops were planted. During a long 12-day celebration, it was tradition to promise to their gods to pay debts and to bring back any borrowed objects. These promises were considered the earliest known new year’s resolutions.
In 46 B.C., Julius Caesar deemed January 1st as the beginning of the new year. In this, he created a 365-day calendar model very similar to the one we use today (Although the calendar was later “fixed” due to an 11-minute error in matching Earth’s revolution around the Sun). The month of January was named after two-faced Roman god Janus. Janus was considered the god of doorways, beginnings and endings, transition and time. When moving to the new year, it was believed one of Janus’ face looks to the past while the other oversees the future year. Because of this belief, many Romans made offerings and promises to Janus in hopes of the god bringing good fortune to their new year. Janus God of Doorways

 Many instances of new year resolutions have been performed throughout many cultures in history, but the first known use of the phrase ‘new year resolution’ was in an article from a Boston newspaper from January 1st, 1813, entitled “The Friday Lecture”: 

And yet, I believe there are multitudes of people, accustomed to receive injunctions of new year resolutions, who will sin all the month of December, with a serious determination of beginning the new year with new resolutions and new behaviour, and with the full belief that they shall thus expiate and wipe away all their former faults.” - Unknown

That article shows we all make resolutions for the new year, but also, we can be just as guilty of not sticking to them – history shows! What’s your new year’s resolution?

Categories: History, Information