Hey there and welcome to another edition of
“BREAKING THE BARRIER!!!!”
Today we looking at one of our upcoming holiday words that always get forgotten.
English – Happy New Year
Portuguese – Feliz ano novo
Afrikaans – Gelukkige Nuwe Jaar
new year (ˈnu ˈyɪər, ˈnyu for 1; ˌyɪər for 2 )
The Romans dedicated New Year’s Day to Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings for whom the first month of the year (January) is also named. After Julius Caesar reformed the calendar in 46 BC and was subsequently murdered, the Roman Senate voted to deify him on the 1st January 42 BC in honor of his life and his institution of the new rationalized calendar. The month originally owes its name to the deity Janus, who had two faces, one looking forward and the other looking backward. This suggests that New Year’s celebrations are founded on pagan traditions. Some have suggested this occurred in 153 BC, when it was stipulated that the two annual consuls (after whose names the years were identified) entered into office on that day, though no consensus exists on the matter. Dates in March, coinciding with the spring equinox, or commemorating the Annunciation of Jesus, along with a variety of Christian feast dates were used throughout the Middle Ages, though calendars often continued to display the months in columns running from January to December.
Among the 7th century pagans of Flanders and the Netherlands, it was the custom to exchange gifts at the New Year. This was a pagan custom deplored by Saint Eligius (died 659 or 660), who warned the Flemings and Dutchmen, “(Do not) make vetulas, [little figures of the Old Woman], little deer or iotticos or set tables [for the house-elf, compare Puck] at night or exchange New Year gifts or supply superfluous drinks [another Yule custom].” The quote is from the vita of Eligius written by his companion, Ouen.
Most countries in Western Europe officially adopted January 1 as New Year’s Day somewhat before they adopted the Gregorian calendar. In England, until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1752, the first day of the new year was the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25, also called “Lady Day“. The March 25 date was known as Annunciation Style; the January 1 date was known as Circumcision Style, because this was the date of the Feast of the Circumcision, considered to be the eighth day of Christ’s life, counting from December 25 when his birth is celebrated. This day was christened as the beginning of the New Year by Pope Gregory as he designed the Liturgical Calendar.
- Thanksgivukkah: Why Hanukkah and Thanksgiving Overlap This Year (livescience.com)
- How do Japanese celebrate holidays? (discoverjapannow.wordpress.com)
- Months of the Year (ladymahoganyrose.wordpress.com)
- Paul Brandeis Raushenbush: Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas: The Last Thing That Ever Needs To Be Said About It (huffingtonpost.com)
- 431 Years Ago, There Was no October 7th! (crackedhistory.com)