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Yoga Korunta

Life & Politics

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Location: United States

One learns, as nothing endures but change.

01 January 2007

Happy New Year!

January 1 marks the end of a period of remembrance of the passing year, especially on radio, television, and in newspapers, which usually starts right after Christmas Day. Publications often have year-end articles that review the changes during the past year. Common topics include politics, natural disasters, music and the arts, and the listing of significant individuals who died during the past year. Often there are also articles on planned or expected changes in the coming year, such as the description of new laws that often take effect on January 1.

This day is traditionally a religious feast, but since the 1900s, has become an occasion for celebration the night of December 31, called New Year's Eve. There are often fireworks at midnight. Depending on the country, individuals may be allowed to burn fireworks, even if it is forbidden the rest of the year.

It is also a memorable occasion to make New Year's resolutions, which they hope to fulfill in the coming Year; the most popular ones in the western world include to stop tobacco smoking or drinking, or to lose weight or get physically fit.

In all countries that use the Gregorian calendar, with the exception of Israel, New Year's Day is a public holiday. For many of those countries, if January 1 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then the Friday before or the Monday after will be a public holiday.

History

Originally observed on March 1 in the old Roman Calendar, New Year's Day first came to be fixed at January 1 in 153 BC, when the two Roman consuls, after whom - in the Roman calendar - years were named and numbered, began to be chosen on that date. However in AD 525, Dionysius Exiguus set the start of the Julian calendar at March 25 to commemorate the Annunciation of Jesus; a variety of Christian feast dates were used throughout the Middle Ages to mark the New Year, while calendars often continued to display the months in columns running from January to December in the Roman fashion.

Among the 7th century druidic pagans of Flanders and the Netherlands, it was the custom to exchange gifts at the New Year, 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. This is sometimes called Circumcision Style, because this was the date of the Feast of the Circumcision, being the eighth day counting from 25 December.

Wikipedia

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