Happy New Year & Some New Year's Eve History

Are you ready to ring in the New Year? Before you grab your champagne and noisemakers,  let's take a few moments to look back at New Years celebrations of yore. 

Still don't have any plans for the big night? Well, if you were living in early ancient Rome, you’d still have time to plan a big bash since New Year fell on March 1st.  The move to January 1st didn’t take place until 46 B.C. when Julius Caesar introduced a new solar-based calendar.  While his calendar solved a number of time-based math problems which led to date drift, it didn’t solve them all. One day, this would lead to Britain being out of whack with the rest of Europe but more about that later.

Speaking of moveable celebrations, Wep-renpet was Ancient Egypt's New Year.  The feast date was calculated based on the rising of the star Sirius and the annual flooding of the Nile and could vary from year to year. Judging from tomb paintings and a few choice papyri passages, it seems the Egyptians rang in the New Year by partying like it was 1999 B.C.

While on the subject of parties, people in the Middle Ages partied like it was 999. January 1st marked the Feast of the Circumcision which the common people celebrated as the Feast of Fools. During this celebration, which had its roots in the old Roman Saturnalia, people mocked the church by appointing a Lord of Misrule and behaving very badly. The Parisians were the worst behaved of all, and because of them, the annual celebration was banned in 1451. Is it any wonder New Years is so closely linked with champagne?

And, like the year, we come full circle back to the Julian calendar.  At one time, Britain marked the New Year in March while the rest of Europe pulled out the party hats on January 1st.  The disparity began in 1582 when the protestant Henry VIII refused to switch to the newly updated, fresh off the Guttenberg printing presses Gregorian calendar.  This decision, coupled with date drift, resulted in the New Year falling in March. Realizing it was no fun partying alone, Britain finally relented and adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1751.  

I hope you enjoyed this brief trip through historic New Year celebrations. While you’re hanging up your new calendars, please check out the Amazon pre-order page for my March release A Debt Paid in Marriage. 

Laura Townsend's plan to reclaim her family's merchandise backfires when she creeps into moneylender Philip Rathbone's house and threatens him with a pistol, only to find him reclining naked in his bath! 

The last thing she expects is to see this guarded widower on her doorstep a couple of days later armed with a very surprising proposal. A marriage of convenience may be Laura's chance to reclaim her future, but she won't settle for anything less than true passion. Can she hope to find it in Philip's arms? 

If you love history then you will love my novels www.Georgie-Lee.com


Julie Corbisiero said...

Hi and thanks so much for that info on New Years! Happy New Year to you. I saw this on the jenny evolution party.
Julie at julieslifestyle.blogspot.com

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Great post, I enjoyed the history Thanks so much for linking to Inspire Me and I hope you have a very Bless and Happy New Year. Hugs, Marty

Teresa Kindred said...

i am a history buff too! Thanks for sharing and Happy New year to you!

Faythe M.A said...

Great history info. I sometimes post about different holidays origins too. Thanks for stopping at GrammyMouseTails
Faythe ~

Linda Blatchford said...

I love historical tips like this, thanks.

Posting from http://linorstorecom.blogspot.com/2014/12/crazy-cat-challenge.html

Kate Norris said...

Great info! I love learning stuff like this. Have a happy New Year!

Tanya @ Moms Small Victories said...

How very interesting. Parisians behaving badly and that Britain is the one different from the rest of the world in celebrating the Mew Year. Thanks for sharing with #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup this week