The start of the New Year is a time for reflections and celebration, but when did this celebration begin? Around 4 millenniums ago, Babylon started to celebrate the birth of a New Year. Most civilizations used the moon and the sun to determine the planting and harvest seasons. So, the first part of the year was celebrated after the vernal equinox when the days and the nights had equal periods of dark and light. In Egypt, the beginning of the year started when the Nile River flooded it banks, heralding the start of the growing season. As time marched on, calendars were no longer able to keep up with the events and seasons. The popular emperor of Rome, Julius Caesar, decided to correct the calendar so it would coordinate with the seasons. The original Roman calendar consisted of 10 months that equaled 304 days per year. After consulting with the leading mathematicians and astronomers of the time, he added two more months to the beginning of the calendar. The first new month of the year was Januarius. Amazingly, he was close to the modern calendar. The first month of the year was named after the Roman god Janus. It is interesting to note that Janus was truly a Roman god, even though the Roman’s and Greek’s shared many gods. For instance, the main god in Greek mythology was Zeus, and in Roman mythology the god was known as Jupiter. There was no equal for Janus in Greek mythology. He was a true original Roman god. As with ancient times, myths and legends become intertwined – some say he was a human that was made into a god after his death. Another myth had him present at the time of the founding of Rome with Romulus. But, as the years passed, statues of him appeared showing two faces – one facing the front and the other facing the back. He was the god of beginnings and endings, and he watched over entrances and departures. Julius Caesar was a wise man… January is the perfect name for the first month. As the New Year enters and the old year departs, it is time to reflect on the past 12 months. Learn from it and take that wisdom with you into the New Year. Last year may have been somewhat confusing, but just imagine yourself looking backward in the rearview mirror and waving goodbye to the old year then, like Janus, turning to look forward to what the future holds for us as we go down the road. Hopefully, 2021 will be more positive as we move forward. So, to all of you at the start of another year, may you look forward to better times filled with love, hope, and prosperity. With all my heart I want to wish everyone a big “Happy 10-4” New Year!
SharLeigh has an inquisitive nature – she is interested in current events, history, science and many more subjects, including things that go bump in the night! Since 1997, SharLeigh has scoured the internet, looking for interesting, fun and timely topics covering all sorts of human-interest subjects for her articles from her home in Fontana, CA.