Mythic Holiday: New Year
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NEW YEAR

The earliest known record of a New Year festival dates from about 2000 BCE in Mesopotamia, where in Babylonia the new year (Akitu) began with the new moon after the spring equinox (mid-March) and in Assyria with the new moon nearest the autumn equinox (mid-September). For the Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians the year began with the autumn equinox (September 21), and for the early Greeks it began with the winter solstice (December 21). On the Roman republican calendar the year began on March 1, but after 153 BCE the official date was January 1, which was continued in the Julian calendar of 46 BCE...
DATABASES
The earliest known record of a New Year festival dates from about 2000 BCE in Mesopotamia, where in Babylonia the new year (Akitu) began with the new moon after the spring equinox (mid-March) and in Assyria with the new moon nearest the autumn equinox (mid-September). For the Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians the year began with the autumn equinox (September 21), and for the early Greeks it began with the winter solstice (December 21). On the Roman republican calendar the year began on March 1, but after 153 BCE the official date was January 1, which was continued in the Julian calendar of 46 BCE...
The January Kalends (Latin: kalendae, the first day of every month) came to be celebrated as the New Year after it became the day for the inaugurating new consuls. Romans had long dated their years by these consulships, rather than sequentially. In 153 B.C.E. they aligned this dating with the calendar year by making the kalends of January the first day of the new year. Still, private and religious celebrations at the March new year continued for some time...
The concept of year, which is found in all higher cultures (as solar year or lunar year or some combination of the two), is not known in all archaic cultures. Some cultures reckon only in periods of approximately six months; this is especially the case in tropical lands where seedtime and harvest come twice in the course of a single year. Even when the year is regarded as a basic division of time, the calculation is often based not (or not exclusively) on the sun and the moon but on the visibility of certain constellations...
In medieval Europe, however, the celebrations accompanying the new year were considered pagan and unchristian like, and in 567 the Council of Tours abolished January 1 as the beginning of the year. At various times and in various places throughout medieval Christian Europe, the new year was celebrated on Dec. 25, the birth of Jesus; March 1; March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation; and Easter...
Contrary to common belief in the west, the civil New Year of January 1 is not an Orthodox Christian religious holiday. The Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar makes no provision for the observance of a New Year. January 1 is itself a religious holiday, but that is because it is the feast of the circumcision of Christ (seven days after His birth), and a commemoration of saints. While the liturgical calendar begins September 1, there is also no particular religious observance attached to the start of the new cycle. Orthodox nations may, however, make civil celebrations for the New Year...
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