The celebration of the new year has been going on for about 4000 years since the times of ancient Babylon. It initially began after the first day of spring or the Vernal Equinox which is March 20th. Spring was the logical time to celebrate the new year since it is a time of renewal, the birth of a new season in the garden. In 153 BC the Romans reworked the calender and from that point on January 1st became New Year’s Day. However in the early days of Christianity, the church declared it a celebration of paganism and so the holiday has only been acknowledged by western civilization for the past 400 years. The most popular tradition is the making of resolutions which also dates back to Babylonian times. Modern resolutions usually involve the quitting of bad habits such as smoking and losing weight. In Babylonian times it was the return of borrowed farm tools. The Tournament of Roses parade originated in 1886 by the Valley Hunt Club to honor the ripening of oranges in California. The first Rose Bowl football game was played in 1902 as an accompaniment to the parade.
The symbol of the baby started in Ancient Greece in 600 BC to celebrate the rebirth of fertility for their god Dionysus (the god of wine). It was traditionally thought that what one ate or did affected the luck one would have in the new year. Some foods that are considered good luck are black-eyed peas, cabbage and rice. It is also thought that anything shaped like a ring such as a donut is good luck too. Finally the traditional song Auld Lang Syne is sung at the stroke of midnight by most English speaking countries throughout the world. This song which was published in 1796 and written by Roberts Burns means the “good old days”.