Everytime the last full week of the year arrives, people (including myself) always make several attempts at coming up with a “reasonable” list of New Year’s resolutions. There are those idealistic individuals who stuff their list with an assortment of items that never bear fruition even for at least one month. Nothing wrong with that, I guess, except that the whole process can really get tiresome.
Anyways, do you know where the idea of New Year’s resolutions came from?
I read this article by Gary Ryan Blair* and decided to post excerpts from the same. Read on…
The History of New Year’s Resolutions
The tradition of the New Year’s Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar.
With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year.
The New Year has not always begun on January 1, and it doesn’t begin on that date everywhere today. It begins on that date only for cultures that use a 365-day solar calendar. January 1 became the beginning of the New Year in 46 B.C., when Julius Caesar developed a calendar that would more accurately reflect the seasons than previous calendars had.
The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus, the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances. He was always depicted with two faces, one on the front of his head and one on the back. Thus he could look backward and forward at the same time. At midnight on December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking back at the old year and forward to the new. The Romans began a tradition of exchanging gifts on New Year’s Eve by giving one another branches from sacred trees for good fortune. Later, nuts or coins imprinted with the god Janus became more common New Year’s gifts.
In the Middle Ages, Christians changed New Year’s Day to December 25, the birth of Jesus. Then they changed it to March 25, a holiday called the Annunciation. In the sixteenth century, Pope Gregory XIII revised the Julian calendar, and the celebration of the New Year was returned to January 1.
The Julian and Gregorian calendars are solar calendars. Some cultures have lunar calendars, however. A year in a lunar calendar is less than 365 days because the months are based on the phases of the moon. The Chinese use a lunar calendar. Their new year begins at the time of the first full moon (over the Far East) after the sun enters Aquarius- sometime between January 19 and February 21.
Although the date for New Year’s Day is not the same in every culture, it is always a time for celebration and for customs to ensure good luck in the coming year.
Who would have thought that this practice goes a loooooong way back? Just the same, I would wrap up this blog by sharing my two New Year’s Resolutions for 2010 and they are:
1. Don’t get fooled by politicians who are wolves-dressed-as-sheep and who want to get my vote for the elections. I’ve learned my lessons before and they sure as hell won’t get one from me now.
2. Have my long overdue executive medical check-up scheduled next month and religiously follow an every-other-year schedule for the same.
There you go. I think I won’t find any reason not to stick to these resolutions since they do not demand much of my patience to follow.
What are yours? 😉
* – Gary Ryan Blair is the inspiration behind New Year’s Resolution Week. This annual event was founded on the premise, that a single resolution can positively and profoundly create lasting change in your life and help to make the world a better place. To become part of the world’s largest personal change initiative, visit http://www.GoalsGuy.com.