Many of my most popular blog posts have discussed some of the history or mythology behind holiday traditions, for example, St. Nick, Finding Easter's date, and the Origin of Halloween. For the first week in January, I thought I'd list some facts about New Year's Day and the month of January itself. (Also, my January birthday is on the 13th - see this post for reasons people fear that number).
New Year's Day is the first day of January according to both the Julian calendar (introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC) and the Gregorian calendar (named for Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in 1582). The difference in these two calendars is a .002% change in the length of the year.
|The Roman god Janus,|
looking both forward and back
Since the Gregorian calendar is now used, at least in practice, by most countries, New Year's Day is considered the world's most celebrated public holiday.
The ancient belief that the beginning of an event impacted the whole led people to offer good health and well wishes on this first day of a new year, as the long, dark days surrounding the Winter Solstice were being left behind. A prosperous January first with plenty of food and drink would hopefully lead to the same for the entire month and year.
Of course, local traditions abound to mark this day, and a big one in the United States is the making of resolutions. For many people, this involves a commitment to a healthier lifestyle--as a fitness instructor, I see my classes absolutely explode each January! My own personal resolutions, since I'm also a writer, usually involve devoting more time each day to my craft. This year, I'm about halfway through a new romantic suspense, and my goal is to finish by March.
If your resolutions include more reading (one of the best stress-reducers, by the way!) - check out my books. Each one has a mix of steamy romance and spooky suspense--something for everyone. My fourth novel, Haunted Souls, came out this past June, and was recently voted one of the Top 3 Books of 2016 at Read Freely. And my debut novel, Silver Lake, is FREE on Kindle if you have Amazon Prime, as part of their new PrimeReading Program.
Best wishes, everyone, for a happy, healthy, and peaceful 2017. Happy New Year!