A Short History the New Year’s Day Celebration

The celebration of the New Year did not occur on the first day of January at the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582, which was accepted at that time only in France, the northern Italian city states, Portugal and the Spanish nations of Castile and Aragon. The new calendar was not accepted until 1600 in Scotland and in 1752 in England. From the earliest days of the Roman Imperial calendar the new year was celebrated on March 25th – which is why September, October, November, and December are derived from Latin words septem (seven), octo (eight), novem (nine), and decem (ten). Throughout Christendom, January 1 has been celebrated as a day of renewal – of vows, vision, and vocation. It was on this day that guild members took their annual pledge, that husbands and wives renewed their marriage promises, and that young believers reasserted their resolution to walk in the grace of the Lord’s great epiphany. In Edinburgh, beginning in the seventeenth century, revellers would gather at the Tron Church to watch the great clock tower mark the entrance into the new year – which was the inspiration behind the relatively recent Times Square ceremony in New York. But in Edinburgh, the purpose was not to have a grand excuse for a public party, but a way of celebrating the truth Epiphany newness.

From The Christian Almanac: A Dictionary of Days Celebrating History’s Most Significant People and Events (George Grant and Gregory Wilber)

Grace and Peace to you and yours in 2008,



One Response

  1. G’day Larry,

    Scotland didn’t adopt/accept the Gregorian calendar until 1752. However, Scotland did change the beginning of the year to 1 January in 1600.

    In other words, changing the start of the year to 1 January doesn’t automatically mean you are using the Gregorian calendar.

    It’s a trap many fall into.

    Happy to discuss.

    More info at:


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