New Year's Day
Learn more about New Year's Day
|New Year's Day|
|Observed by||people around the world|
|Significance||the first day of the Gregorian year|
|Observances||Making New Year's resolutions, parades, additional sporting events|
|Related to||New Year's Eve, the previous day, and Christmas Day, which is a nearby international holiday|
New Year's Day is the first day of the year, in the Gregorian calendar, falling exactly one week after Christmas Day of the previous year. In modern times, it is January 1. In most countries, it is a holiday. It is a holy day to many of those who still use the Julian calendar, which includes followers of some of the Eastern Orthodox churches, and is celebrated on January 14 of the Gregorian calendar due to differences between the two calendars.
 Modern practices
January 1 marks the end of a period of remembrance of the passing year, especially on radio, television, and in newspapers, which usually starts right after Christmas Day. Publications often have year-end articles that review the changes during the past year. Common topics include politics, natural disasters, music and the arts, and the listing of significant individuals who died during the past year. Often there are also articles on planned or expected changes in the coming year, such as the description of new laws that often take effect on January 1.
This day is traditionally a religious feast, but since the 1900s, has become an occasion for celebration the night of December 31, called New Year's Eve. There are often fireworks at midnight. Depending on the country, individuals may be allowed to burn fireworks, even if it is forbidden the rest of the year.
It is also an occasion to make New Year's resolutions, which they hope to fulfill in the coming Year; the most popular ones in the western world include to stop tobacco smoking or drinking, or to lose weight or get physically fit.
In all countries that use the Gregorian calendar, with the exception of Israel, New Year's Day is a public holiday. For many of those countries, if January 1 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then the Friday before or the Monday after will be a public holiday. The official reason that it is not a public holiday in Israel is due to the day's historic origins as a Christian religious holiday, although many other nations with non-Christian majorities have a public January 1 holiday.
Originally observed on March 1 in the old Roman Calendar, New Year's Day first came to be fixed at January 1 in 153 BC, when the two Roman consuls, after whom - in the Roman calendar - years were named and numbered, began to be chosen on that date. However in AD 525, Dionysius Exiguus set the start of the Julian calendar at March 25  to commemorate the Annunciation of Jesus; a variety of Christian feast dates were used throughout the Middle Ages to mark the New Year, while calendars often continued to display the months in columns running from January to December in the Roman fashion.
Among the 7th century druidic pagans of Flanders and the Netherlands, it was the custom to exchange gifts at the New Year, a pagan custom deplored by Saint Eligius (died 659 or 660), who warned the Flemings and Dutchmen, "[Do not] make vetulas, [little figures of the Old Woman], little deer or iotticos or set tables [for the house-elf, compare Puck] at night or exchange New Year gifts or supply superfluous drinks [another Yule custom]." The quote is from the vita of Eligius written by his companion Ouen.
Most countries in Western Europe officially adopted January 1 as New Year's Day somewhat before they adopted the Gregorian calendar (See Julian Calendar for details.) This is sometimes called Circumcision Style, because this was the date of the Feast of the Circumcision, being the eighth day counting from 25 December.
 Specific, high-profile or common celebrations
 New Year's Day
- In Britain an extra round of football fixtures is played.
- In Pasadena, California, United States, the Tournament of Roses is held, with revelers viewing the parade from the streets and watching on television, followed by the Rose Bowl football game.
- The aforementioned Rose Bowl football game is one of several postseason bowl games played in college football in the United States (though in recent years it, due to its involvement in the BCS, has not always fallen on New Year's Day; changes in the BCS mean that the Rose Bowl will return as a perennial New Year's Day fixture).
- Vienna New Year Concert, in Austria.
- Polar Bear Clubs: in many northern hemisphere cities near bodies of water, they will have a tradition of people plunging into the cold water on New Year's Day. The Coney Island Polar Bears Club in New York is the oldest cold-water swimming club in the United States. They have had groups of people enter the chilly surf since 1903.
- In Philadelphia, the Mummers Parade is held on Broad Street.
 New Year's Eve
- In Australia, celebrations are had around the nation, especially in capital cities such as Sydney, where the world's largest fireworks display draws 1-1.5 million people to the harbour. Australia is one of the first countries in the world to celebrate the new year, being the first major developed nation after the International Dateline.
- In New York City, the world famous 1,070-pound, 6-foot-diameter Waterford crystal ball located high above Times Square is lowered starting at 11:59:00 p.m., or the last minute of the year, and reaches the bottom of its tower at the stroke of midnight. It is sometimes referred to as "the big apple" like the city itself; the custom derives from the time signal that used to be given at noon in harbors.
- Other Ball Drops occur in Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro and Sydney Harbour
- In The Netherlands and other European countries, the New Year is greeted with massive private fireworks. This day is also the occasion to make bonfires of discarded Christmas trees in some countries.
- In South Korea, the most popular way of celebrating New Year's Day is to travel to Jung dong jin, the place on the peninsula where the sun can first be seen each day.
- Junkanoo parade, in Nassau, Bahamas
- Some mayors in North America hold New Year levees
- In Scotland, there are many special customs associated with the New Year. For more information, see Hogmanay, the Scots name for the New Year celebration.
- Japanese New Year in Japan
- The Peach Drop in Underground Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
- In Davos, Switzerland, the final match of the Spengler Cup Ice Hockey Tournament is usually held on this day by tradition.
 Images associated with New Year's Day
In the United States, a common image used is that of an incarnation of Father Time (or the "Old Year") wearing a sash across his chest with the previous year printed on it passing on his duties to the Baby New Year (or the "New Year"), an infant wearing a sash with the new year printed on it.
 * New Year's Babies *
People born on New Year's Day are commonly called New Year Babies. Many hospitals give out prizes to the first baby born in that hospital in the new year. These prizes are often donated by local businesses. Prizes may include various baby related items such as baby formula, baby blankets, gift certificates to stores which specialize in baby related merchandise, and diapers.
 See also
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