New Year is observed on January 1st every year to mark the beginning of a new year. It is the first day of the year that was initially observed according to the Julian calendar and currently followed according to the Gregorian calendar. Every new year brings with it possibilities to learn from the prior year and look ahead to the future prospects. New Year’s Day is a national holiday and a time for celebration throughout the world. It marks a date of a clean slate and a way for positive changes in one’s life. New Year is celebrated by different cultures in their unique style. In India, New Year is one of the most popular occasions celebrated in a festive manner.
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Origin & History :
Though the exact date is not known, New Year is believed to have originated thousands of years ago during the ancient Babylon times. During ancient times the cycle of the sun and moon decided the first day of the year.
According to the early Roman calendar, March 1st was the first day of the year that consisted of ten months (from March to December). Later in pre-historic Rome as per the Julian calendar, the day was dedicated to Janus the god of gateways and beginnings.
During the middle ages a significant change was made to the Julian calendar by correcting the leap error mistake and thereby deleting ten days. The Gregorian calendar was acknowledged by Pope Gregory XIII and January 1st was reinstated as New Year’s Day. The reformed Gregorian calendar was thereby adopted by many countries gradually.
Celebrations in India:
New Year is a time for new beginnings and celebrations. India is a land of diversity with different traditions and cultures. Different places in India celebrate this holiday differently. It being a restricted holiday, the Government and most of the business offices remain open.
People in India celebrate this day with family and friends. Many people make resolutions for the coming year. Live concerts, parties, singing and dancing are a part of this fun filled holiday. Night clubs, movie theatres, restaurants, resorts and amusement parks are filled with people on this day.
Wishing each other, exchanging cards and gifts and scintillating fireworks makes the day even more special.
New Year Shopping:
To keep up the spirit of the festival, special arrangements are made in advance. Markets and shopping malls become busy at this time of the year. People usually prepare themselves a week prior to New Year in order to avoid last minute hassles. The festival look can be seen as shopping centers pile up their stocks. New Year shopping becomes indispensable with all the people looking forward to New Year decorations and gifts.
New Year’s Day Traditions:
There are many ways to start off the new year. While the celebrations in different places vary, some of the common traditions include:
- The festivities in most countries begin on the day before, during New Year’s Eve which falls on December 31st.
- The day is guided in with a countdown until midnight and by making resolutions and setting goals to improve one’s life.
- A gathering of family, friends and loved ones, music, feasting and merriment add colours to the fun filled holiday.
- Purifying homes and offering prayers at home and temples also form a ritual.
- Just as the clock strikes midnight, new year wishes start pouring in.
- Cakes are cut and fireworks are burst to mark the end of the year.
- People often head to a party for a grand New Year bash and to have fun.
- Some people also prefer a quiet night at home watching movies and reading books.
- Exchanging gifts and greetings on New Year’s Day is a most common custom, one that strengthens the bond of love among friends and families.
- New Year’s Day is a time for quiet reflection where people try to let go of old regrets and try to remake one’s life.
- Modern practices include media reports through newspapers, magazines and television, about a review of the past year. Astronomical predictions for the coming year are also a common practice that people eagerly look forward to.
New Year Day is all about hopes and celebrations. This fun-filled day is often seen as an opportunity to bid adieu to the past year and welcome the coming year with a ray of hope and optimism.