Monday, January 5, 2009
The people of ancient Egypt began their new year in summer. The people of ancient Babylonian and Persian began their new year on March 21, the first day of spring. and, some native American Indians began their new year when the nuts of oak tree became ripe.
Now, almost everyone celebrates New Year's Day on January 1. The ancient Babylonians celebrated by forcing their king to give up his crown and royal clothing. They made him get down on his knees and admit all the mistakes he had made during the past year.
This idea of admitting wrongs and finishing the business of the old year is found in many societies at New Year's. So is the idea of making resolutions. A resolution is a promise to change your ways.
Noise-making is another ancient custom at the New Year. The noise is considered necessary to chase away the evil spirits of the old year. People around the world do different things to make a lot of noise. They may hit sticks together. Or beat on drums. Or blow horns. Or explode fireworks.
Americans celebrate New Year in many ways. They visit family and friends. Attend Church sevices. Share a holiday meal. Or watch New Year's parades on television.
For those who have been busy at work or school, New Year's Day may be a day of rest. They spend the time thinking about, and preparing for, the demands of the new year.