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.
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.