A Brief New Years Celebration History
New Year festival, any of the social, cultural, and religious observances worldwide that celebrate the beginning of the new year. Such festivals are among the oldest and the most universally observed.
The earliest known record of a New Year festival dates from about 2000 BCE in Mesopotamia, where in Babylonia the new year (Akitu) began with the new moon after the spring equinox (mid-March) and in Assyria with the new moon nearest the autumn equinox (mid-September). For the Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians the year began with the autumn equinox (September 21), and for the early Greeks it began with the winter solstice (December 21). On the Roman republican calendar the year began on March 1, but after 153 BCE the official date was January 1, which was continued in the Julian calendar of 46 BCE.
In early medieval times most of Christian Europe regarded March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, as the beginning of the new year, although New Year’s Day was observed on December 25 in Anglo-Saxon England. William the Conqueror decreed that the year begin on January 1, but England later joined the rest of Christendom and adopted March 25. The Gregorian calendar, adopted in 1582 by the Roman Catholic Church, restored January 1 as New Year’s Day, and most European countries gradually followed suit: Scotland, in 1660; Germany and Denmark, about 1700; England, in 1752; and Russia, in 1918.
Those religions and cultures using a lunar calendar have continued to observe the beginning of the year on days other than January 1. In the Jewish religious calendar, for example, the year begins on Rosh Hashana, the first day of the month of Tishri, which falls between September 6 and October 5. The Muslim calendar normally has 354 days in each year, with the new year beginning with the month of Muharram. The Chinese New Year is celebrated officially for a month beginning in late January or early February. Other Asian cultures celebrate the day at various times of the year. In southern India the Tamil celebrate the new year at the winter solstice; Tibetans observe the day in February; and in Thailand the day is celebrated in March or April. The Japanese have a three-day celebration January 1–3.
Many of the customs of New Year festivals note the passing of time with both regret and anticipation. The baby as a symbol of the new year dates to the ancient Greeks, with an old man representing the year that has passed. The Romans derived the name for the month of January from their god Janus, who had two faces, one looking backward and the other forward. The practice of making resolutions to rid oneself of bad habits and to adopt better ones also dates to ancient times. Some believe the Babylonians began the custom more than 4,000 years ago. These early resolutions were likely made in an attempt to curry favour with the gods. In the West, particularly in English-speaking countries, the nostalgic Scottish ballad “Auld Lang Syne,” revised by the poet Robert Burns, is often sung on New Year’s Eve.
Symbolic foods are often part of the festivities. Many Europeans, for example, eat cabbage or other greens to ensure prosperity in the coming year, while people in the American South favour black-eyed peas for good luck. Throughout Asia special foods such as dumplings, noodles, and rice cakes are eaten, and elaborate dishes feature ingredients whose names or appearance symbolize long life, happiness, wealth, and good fortune.
Because of the belief that what a person does on the first day of the year foretells what he will do for the remainder of the year, gatherings of friends and relatives have long been significant. The first guest to cross the threshold, or “first foot,” is significant and may bring good luck if of the right physical type, which varies with location. Public gatherings, as in Times Square in New York City or in Trafalgar Square in London, draw large crowds, and the countdown to the dropping of an electronic ball in Times Square to signify the exact moment at which the new year begins is televised worldwide. The first Rose Bowl Game was played in Pasadena, California, on January 1, 1902, and college football games have come to dominate American television on New Year’s Day. The Tournament of Roses parade, featuring floats constructed of live flowers, and the Mummers’ Parade in Philadelphia are popular New Year’s Day events.
Many people mark the new year with religious observances, as, for example, on Rosh Hashana. Buddhist monks are presented with gifts on the day, and Hindus make oblations to the gods. In Japan visits are sometimes made to Shintō shrines of tutelary deities or to Buddhist temples. Chinese make offerings to gods of the hearth and wealth and to ancestors.
New Years Rituals
1. Calculate Your Upcoming Personal Year in Numerology
Curious what kind of energy you’ll hold in the new year? Calculate your personal year number in numerology.
To do so, you simply add up the month of your birth + the day of your birth + the CURRENT year (in this case, the new year= 2023).
For example, for a March 23rd birthday, I would add:
3 + 2 + 3 = 8 (month and day of birth)
2 + 0 + 2 + 3 = 7 (current year)
7 + 8 = 15 (month + day + current year totaled up)
1 + 5 = 6 (double digits that do not repeat are combined)
So a March 23rd birthday will have a 6 personal year in 2023.
You can see what that means and calculate yours here: Personal Year Meanings: Felicia Bender
If you’ve never calculated your Life Path number in numerology, I recommend checking this website out and reading different interpretations for your life path number. Chaldean Numerology Life Path Calculator
2. Cleansing Ritual for New Years
The end of the year is such an ideal time to do some energy cleansing. As we clear and let go of the old, we make space for new, fresh, aligned energy to come through.
There are many ways you can cleanse your energy but some of my favorites are:
Smoke cleansing with any of our herb bundles or palo santo / incense
Talking a salt bath
Doing a cleansing meditation with solfeggio frequencies (I love 528hz)
Using a sound bowl
Utilizing your "the trio set" or "the traveler set"
You May Also Like: Energy Cleansing for Empaths
3. Releasing with Fire Ritual
Make a list of all the things you’d like to release. This list can be made up of things such as negative habits, toxic mindsets, relationships that aren’t serving us, jobs that aren’t serving us, or cycles that we’d like to close and clear out.
Once your list feels complete, using a fire-safe bowl or cauldron, light your paper on fire. Allow it to burn completely to ash and when finished, bury the ashes or release them into running water (if possible).
smoking cauldron being used for a cleansing ritual for new years
4. Create a Manifestation Box as a Ritual for New Years
I have an entire post on creating manifestation boxes here. To make your own new year’s themed manifestation box, fill a dedicated box with pictures, notes, objects, tarot cards and whatever else carries the energy of the things you’d like to manifest for the year.
Place your manifestation box in a safe space like on your altar or under your night stand.
5. Create a Spell Jar
Similar to a manifestation box, a manifestation jar can be created to call in prosperity for the new year. Using things like bay leaf, cinnamon, rosemary, citrine and gold are all powerful items to include in your manifestation spell jar.
We hope you enjoy!
sending much love and light
into the new year-
Art Image by Mr.Babies
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "New Year festival". Encyclopedia Britannica, 14 Dec. 2022, https://www.britannica.com/topic/New-Year-festival. Accessed 31 December 2022.