New Year is a joyous festival which is celebrated all over the world. It signifies the beginning of a year according to the Gregorian calendar (which contains 12 months and January 1 is counted as the first day of a new year). People across the globe start planning about new year resolutions and preparations ahead of one month.
Like any other festival, it brings happiness in the lives of many people across the globe irrespective of the caste and culture. New Year is widely enjoyed and explored by the people of every age group. Nearly all schools and educational institutions announce the winter vacation from the day of Christmas Eve till New Year (January 1). As New Year means the first day of the year, it tends to bring happiness in the lives of the people as it reflects the fresh beginning while leaving all the negative energies behind.
New Year is the time for people to leave all the bad experiences behind and take a step into the future with positive energy. Everyone prays for their own and their beloved one’s happiness, healthiness and fortune in the coming New Year. For children, a new year feels incomplete without three things - Christmas tree, New year party along with new dresses, and the mandatory New Year essay as a part of their winter holidays homework).
A unique custom has been followed these days in every household - New Year tree. In order to define this, it is nothing but the Christmas tree that gets decorated during the festive season and year-end. All the family members take part in decorating the Christmas tree/ New Year tree with various kinds of toys, bells, stars, candies, mistletoe and colourful fairy lights.
New Year’s day is followed by different other customs and traditions in every household across the globe. Each culture celebrates this day in its own unique way. Some people start planning for a mini-vacation beforehand while some plan to spend quality time with their loved ones. The preparation begins with the buying gifts, decorating houses, and purchasing of new clothes.
There are 10 months and 304 days in the early Roman Calendar and with every new year during the spring equinox; consistent with tradition, it had been created by Romulus, the founder of Rome, in the eighth century B.C. Later during the 1713 B.C., Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, added the months of Januarius and Februarius in the Roman Calendar.
Over the centuries, the calendar was not in proper synchronisation with the sun. Then in 46 B.C. the emperor Caesar decided to unravel the matter by consulting with the foremost prominent astronomers and mathematicians of his time.The Julian calendar was introduced by Caesar which was quite similar to the modern Gregorian calendar that is used till date by the majority of countries around the world.
Caesar instituted January 1 to be the first day of the year, partly to honour the month’s namesake: Janus, the Roman god of beginnings (whose two faces allowed him to seem back to the past and forward into the longer term which was a part of his reforms). The Romans exchanged gifts amongst each other and also offered sacrifices to God Janus to celebrate the New Year. They also attended loud parties and decorated their homes with laurel branches.
Many countries celebrate New Year from the evening of December 31 (also known as the New Year’s Eve) till the early hours of 1st January and often enjoy several meals and snacks to bestow good luck for the coming year. Grapes are known as a symbol of hopes for the upcoming months and thus are used by the people in Spain and a number of other Spanish-speaking countries.
Legumes has been a traditional dish for New Year in many countries and places as it is believed to resemble coins and future financial success such as lentils in Italy and black-eyed peas in the southern United States. Also in some countries like Austria, Hungary, Cuba and Portugal, pork is used as a common New Year dish and it is believed that pigs represent progress and prosperity.
In many places like Sweden and Norway, rice pudding is served during the New Year's Eve with an almond hidden inside it. It is believed that one who finds the almond is bestowed with 12 months of good fortune. Whereas, in Netherlands, Greece, Mexico et al., ring-shaped cakes as well as pastries are served during the New Year. It signifies that the year has now come to a full circle.