As the year comes to an end, we hope that you’ve experienced a wonderful holiday season with your family. Full of excitement and celebrations big and small, the holidays often fly by in the blink of an eye. It seems like only yesterday that we were doling out advice for cooking on propane grills. Now we’re encouraging you to celebrate New Year’s Eve in front of your propane fireplace with your closest friends and family members. Before celebrating the close of 2017, you may wonder where New Year’s Eve rituals originated. When did this holiday begin?
Over 4,000 years ago, ancient Babylonians celebrated the new year in a religious festival known as Akitu, with rituals that spanned an 11 day time period. In the Babylonian calendar, the new year began in late March on the vernal equinox, when there was an equal amount of darkness and sunlight. Akitu is the Sumerian word for “barley,” which would be cut at this time as well.
According to Babylonian myths, Akitu also marked the time when the sun god, Marduk, relinquished the power of Tiamat, the evil sea goddess. During the Akitu celebrations, a new king would be crowned or the current ruler’s throne would be recognized and celebrated.
During the reign of Romulus, founder of Rome, a new calendar was developed, but it was wildly out of synch with the sun. However, once Julius Caesar took over power of Rome, he decided to develop a new calendar. In 46 BCE, he consulted with esteemed astronomers and mathematicians to create a calendar that is more similar to the calendar we use today.
In this calendar, January first was recognized as the first day of the year. The name, “January” paid homage to the Roman god of beginnings, Janus. This god had two heads, one that looked to the past and one that looked to the future. Romans celebrated the new year by exchanging gifts, offering sacrifices to Janus and decorating their homes with laurel branches. This indulgent time was also marked by wild, over-the-top parties as well.
Following the establishment of Christianity as the main religion in Europe, the Council of Tours decided in 67 CE to stop celebrating the new year on January first. This religious council believed that the first day of January was a pagan holiday and refused to recognize it. Different areas celebrated the new year at various other times of the year instead.
January first wasn’t reestablished as New Year’s Day until 1582, when the Gregorian calendar was adopted by Catholic countries. Protestant countries, including Great Britain, took over a hundred years to adopt the new calendar. In fact, Great Britain didn’t celebrate January first as the new year until 1752.
Current New Year’s Celebrations
Like the Romans, many Americans celebrate the new year with raucous parties. However, whether or not you’ll be ringing in the new year till the wee hours of dawn, you’ll probably watch the ball drop at New York City’s Times Square. People have been celebrating this occurrence since 1907, and the tradition shows no signs of stopping.
Stay warm this new year by toasting your loved ones in front of the propane fireplace. If your propane fireplace runs out of fuel, it could signal a harbinger of a difficult year. Prevent bad luck by signing up for our automatic propane delivery services at DiSanto Propane in upstate New York. Contact our propane company today to get started. With our affordable home propane services, you’ll save money, which only adds to your prosperity in the upcoming year. Don’t hesitate to call DiSanto Propane today for the best deals on propane.