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New Year history reaches back to Babylon

By Darlene Jung

The celebration of the new year is thought to be the oldest observed holiday. It is believed to have began roughly 4,000 years ago in Babylon. The celebration was probably not held Jan. 1, but instead, on the first day of spring, in March.

The Babylonian new year began with the first new moon after the vernal equinox. Spring is the beginning of a new season of planting crops and rebirth on the earth and therefore was a good time to celebrate. Just why the new year beginning with spring bounced back and forth from January to March is difficult to determine.

The Romans continued to observe the new year in late March, but their calendar became out of sync with the sun. So in order to set the calendar right, the Roman Senate declared Jan. 1 as the beginning of the new year.

Read the original article at: Williston Herald

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