New Year's Eve celebration in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2004)

The New Year is the time or day at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar's year count increments by one. Many cultures celebrate the event in some manner.[1] In the Gregorian calendar, the most widely used calendar system today, New Year occurs on January 1 (New Year's Day, preceded by New Year's Eve). This was also the first day of the year in the original Julian calendar and the Roman calendar (after 153 BC).[2]

Other cultures observe their traditional or religious New Year's Day according to their own customs, typically (though not invariably) because they use a lunar calendar or a lunisolar calendar. Chinese New Year, the Islamic New Year, Tamil New Year (Puthandu), and the Jewish New Year are among well-known examples. India, Nepal, and other countries also celebrate New Year on dates according to their own calendars that are movable in the Gregorian calendar.

During the Middle Ages in Western Europe, while the Julian calendar was still in use, authorities moved New Year's Day, depending upon locale, to one of several other days, including March 1, March 25, Easter, September 1, and December 25. Since then, many national civil calendars in the Western World and beyond have changed to using one fixed date for New Year's Day, January 1—most doing so when they adopted the Gregorian calendar.

By type

Based on the used calendar new years are often categorized between lunar or lunisolar new years or solar new years.

By month or season


Baby New Year 1905 chases old 1904 into the history books in this cartoon by John T. McCutcheon.

Winter lunar new years

A Happy New Year sign in northeastern China



Mid-April (Spring in the Northern Hemisphere)

The new year of many South and Southeast Asian calendars falls between April 13–15, marking the beginning of spring.




Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere



Opening of the Year[12]
Wpt Rnpt[13]
in hieroglyphs

Christian liturgical year

The early development of the Christian liturgical year coincided with the Roman Empire (east and west), and later the Byzantine Empire, both of which employed a taxation system labeled the Indiction, the years for which began on September 1. This timing may account for the ancient church's establishment of September 1 as the beginning of the liturgical year, despite the official Roman New Year's Day of January 1 in the Julian calendar, because the Indiction was the principal means for counting years in the empires, apart from the reigns of the Emperors. The September 1 date prevailed throughout all of Christendom for many centuries, until subsequent divisions eventually produced revisions in some places.

After the sack of Rome in 410, communications and travel between east and west deteriorated. Liturgical developments in Rome and Constantinople did not always match, although a rigid adherence to form was never mandated in the church. Nevertheless, the principal points of development were maintained between east and west. The Roman and Constantinopolitan liturgical calendars remained compatible even after the East-West Schism in 1054. Separations between the Catholic General Roman Calendar and Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar grew only over several centuries' time. During those intervening centuries, the Latin Church Catholic ecclesiastic year was moved to the first day of Advent, the Sunday nearest to St. Andrew's Day (November 30). By the time of the Reformation (early 16th century), the Roman Catholic general calendar provided the initial basis for the calendars for the liturgically oriented Protestants, including the Anglican and Lutheran Churches, who inherited this observation of the liturgical new year.[citation needed]

The present-day Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar is the virtual culmination of the ancient eastern development cycle, though it includes later additions based on subsequent history and lives of saints. It still begins on September 1, proceeding annually into the Nativity of the Theotokos (September 8) and Exaltation of the Cross (September 14) to the celebration of Nativity of Christ (Christmas), through his death and resurrection (Pascha/Easter), to his Ascension and the Dormition of the Theotokos ("falling asleep" of the Virgin Mary, August 15). This last feast is known in the Roman Catholic church as the Assumption. The dating of "September 1" is according to the "new" (revised) Julian calendar or the "old" (standard) Julian calendar, depending on which is used by a particular Orthodox Church. Hence, it may fall on September 1 on the civil calendar, or on September 14 (between 1900 and 2099 inclusive).

The liturgical calendars of the Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox churches are unrelated to these systems but instead follow the Alexandrian calendar which fixed the wandering ancient Egyptian calendar to the Julian year. Their New Year celebrations on Neyrouz and Enkutatash were fixed; however, at a point in the Sothic cycle close to the Indiction; between the years 1900 and 2100, they fall on September 11 during most years and September 12 in the years preceding a leap year.

Historical European new year dates

During the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, years began on the date on which each consul first entered the office. This was probably May 1 before 222 BC, March 15 from 222 BC to 154 BC,[15] and January 1 from 153 BC.[16] In 45 BC, when Julius Caesar's new Julian calendar took effect, the Senate fixed January 1 as the first day of the year. At that time, this was the date on which those who were to hold civil office assumed their official position, and it was also the traditional annual date for the convening of the Roman Senate. This civil new year remained in effect throughout the Roman Empire, east and west, during its lifetime and well after, wherever the Julian calendar continued in use.

In the Middle Ages in Europe a number of significant feast days in the ecclesiastical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church came to be used as the beginning of the Julian year:

Over the centuries, countries changed between styles until the Modern Style (January 1) prevailed. For example,

A more unusual case is France, which observed the Northern autumn equinox day (usually September 22) as "New Year's Day" in the French Republican Calendar, which was in use from 1793 to 1805. This was primidi Vendémiaire, the first day of the first month.

Adoptions of January 1

It took quite a long time before January 1 again became the universal or standard start of the civil year. The years of adoption of January 1 as the new year are as follows:

Country Start year
Holy Roman Empire (~Germany)[22] 1544
Spain, Portugal, Poland[22] 1556
Prussia,[22] Denmark.[23] and Sweden.[22] 1559
France (Edict of Roussillon) 1564
Southern Netherlands[24] 1576
Lorraine[citation needed] 1579
Dutch Republic[22] 1583
Scotland[21][22] 1600
Russia[25] 1700[b]
Tuscany[22] 1721
England and Wales, Ireland and
British Empire[22][c]
Japan[27] 1873
China[28] 1912
Greece[29] 1923
Turkey[30] 1926
Thailand[citation needed] 1941

March 1 was the first day of the numbered year in the Republic of Venice until its destruction in 1797,[31] and in Russia from 988 until 1492 (Anno Mundi 7000 in the Byzantine calendar).[31] September 1 was used in Russia from 1492 (A.M. 7000) until the adoption of both the Anno Domini notation and 1 January as New Year's Day, with effect from 1700, via December 1699 decrees (1735, 1736) of Tsar Peter I.[32][26]

Time zones

Because of the division of the globe into time zones, the new year moves progressively around the globe as the start of the day ushers in the New Year. The first time zone to usher in the New Year, just west of the International Date Line, is located in the Line Islands, a part of the nation of Kiribati, and has a time zone 14 hours ahead of UTC.[33][34][35] All other time zones are 1 to 25 hours behind, most in the previous day (December 31); on American Samoa and Midway, it is still 11 pm on December 30. These are among the last inhabited places to observe New Year. However, uninhabited outlying US territories Howland Island and Baker Island are designated as lying within the time zone 12 hours behind UTC, the last places on Earth to see the arrival of January 1. These small coral islands are found about midway between Hawaii and Australia, about 1,000 miles west of the Line Islands. This is because the International Date Line is a composite of local time zone arrangements, which winds through the Pacific Ocean, allowing each locale to remain most closely connected in time with the nearest or largest or most convenient political and economic locales with which each associate. By the time Howland Island sees the new year, it is 2 am on January 2 in the Line Islands of Kiribati.

See also


  1. ^ Including Great Britain, of course.
  2. ^ A 1725 date given in some sources probably originates from Bond (1875) (p. 101) but is not correct, as the 1699 Ukase № 1736 (20 December 1699 [O.S.] (30 December [N.S.]) promulgating it attests.[26]
  3. ^ Calendar (New Style) Act 1750


  1. ^ Anthony Aveni, "Happy New Year! But Why Now?" in The Book of the Year: A Brief History of Our Seasonal Holidays (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 11–28.
  2. ^ Forsythe, Gary (2012). Time in Roman Religion: One Thousand Years of Religious History. Routledge. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-415-52217-5.
  3. ^ Ravina, Mark (1998). Land and Lordship in Early Modern Japan. Stanford University Press. p. 19. ISBN 9780804763868. Archived from the original on 2023-10-18. Retrieved 2023-03-19.
  4. ^ "The Sami Concept of Time". Archived from the original on 2019-07-19. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  5. ^ Tek Web Visuals, Cochina. "New Year's Day". World e scan. Archived from the original on 10 November 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  6. ^ "The Thelemic Holy Season Archived 2017-06-19 at the Wayback Machine", 2004
  7. ^ Crump, William D. (2016). Encyclopedia of New Year's Holidays Worldwide. McFarland, Incorporated, Publishers. p. 235. ISBN 9781476607481. Archived from the original on 2023-10-18. Retrieved 2023-03-19.
  8. ^ Ben, Tzvi (22 September 2006). "Rosh Hashanah: Prayers, Shofars, Apples, Honey and Pomegranates". Archived from the original on 27 November 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  9. ^ Rintluanga., Pachuau (2009). Mizoram : a study in comprehensive geography. New Delhi: Northern Book Centre. p. 9. ISBN 978-8172112646. OCLC 471671707.
  10. ^ Laugrand, Frédéric; Oosten, Jarich (2002). "Quviasukvik. The celebration of an Inuit winter feast in the central Arctic". Journal de la Société des Américanistes. 88 (88): 203–225. doi:10.4000/jsa.2772. S2CID 161600212. Archived from the original on 2020-08-02. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  11. ^ "Quviasukvik: The Inuit Winter Festival & Christmas". Archived from the original on 2020-10-31. Retrieved 2020-01-19.
  12. ^ For alternative representations of the Opening of the Year, see Mesori.
  13. ^ Vygus, Mark (2015), Middle Egyptian Dictionary (PDF), archived (PDF) from the original on 2020-08-03, retrieved 2017-02-09.
  14. ^ Tetley, M. Christine (2014), The Reconstructed Chronology of the Egyptian Kings, Vol. I, p. 42, archived from the original on 2017-02-11, retrieved 2017-02-09
  15. ^ Arthur M. Eckstein (1987). Senate and General: Individual Decision-making and Roman Foreign Relations, 264–194 B.C.. University of California Press. p. 16. ISBN 9780520055827.
  16. ^ Roman Dates: Eponymonous Years Archived June 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ a b c Ritter, R. M. (2005), New Hart's Rules:The Handbook of Style for Writers and Editors: The Handbook of Style for Writers and Editors, Oxford University Press, p. 194, ISBN 9780191650499
  18. ^ "General Chronology (Beginning of the Year)". CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: General Chronology. Catholic Encyclopedia. New Advent. Archived from the original on 2021-01-25. Retrieved 2022-01-02.
  19. ^ Matheeussen, Constant; Fantazzi, Charles; George, Edward V., eds. (1987). "General Introduction, §IV. The date of the Opuscula varia". Early Writings I. Selected Works of Juan Luis Vives. Vol. 1. Leiden: E. J. Brill. p. xvii. ISBN 9789004077829. Retrieved 17 March 2014. The town of Louvain, belonging to the duchy of Brabant, used the Easter Style, beginning the year at Holy Saturday.
  20. ^ a b (Bond 1875, p. 91)
  21. ^ a b Bond (1875), See footnote on pages xvii–xviii: original text of the Scottish decree.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h Mike Spathaky Old Style and New Style Dates and the change to the Gregorian Calendar: A summary for genealogists Archived 2014-10-11 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Denmark named 1 January as the New Year in the early 14th century according to R.W. Bauer (Calender for Aarene fra 601 til 2200, 1868/1993 ISBN 87-7423-083-2) although the number of the year did not begin on 1 January until 1559.
  24. ^ Per decree of 16 June 1575. Hermann Grotefend, "Osteranfang Archived 2016-07-13 at the Wayback Machine" (Easter beginning), Zeitrechnung de Deutschen Mittelalters und der Neuzeit Archived 2016-06-28 at the Wayback Machine (Chronology of the German Middle Ages and modern times) (1891–1898)
  25. ^ Oudard, Georges (1929) [1929]. Peter the Great. Translated by Atkinson, Frederick. New York: Payson and Clarke. p. 197. LCCN 29-027809. OL 7431283W.
  26. ^ a b "Ukase No. 1736". Полное собрание законов Российской империи. Том III [Complete Collection of Laws of the Russian Empire. Volume III.]. 20 December 1699. p. 683. Archived from the original on 26 June 2023. Retrieved 26 June 2023.
  27. ^ The Book in Japan: A Cultural History from the Beginnings to the Nineteenth Century. University of Hawaii Press. 2000. ISBN 9780824823375. Archived from the original on 18 October 2023. Retrieved 19 March 2023. Late in 1872 Japan adopted the Gregorian calendar and 1872.12.3 became 1 January 1873
  28. ^ Xu, Guoqi (2005). China and the Great War: China's Pursuit of a New National Identity and Internationalization. Cambridge University Press. p. 34. ISBN 9780521842129. Archived from the original on October 18, 2023. Retrieved March 19, 2023. Indeed the adoption of the Gregorian calendar was the very first law passed by the new Republic of China. On December 31, 1911, the national senate passed a resolution to adopt the solar calendar immediately, regarding the next day as the first day of the first month of the first year of the Republic of China.
  29. ^ Cassimatis, Louis P. (1988). American Influence in Greece, 1917-1929. Kent State University Press. ISBN 9780873383578. Archived from the original on 2023-10-18. Retrieved 2023-03-19.
  30. ^ Davison, Andrew (1998). Secularism and Revivalism in Turkey: A Hermeneutic Reconsideration. Yale University Press. p. 150. ISBN 9780300069365. Archived from the original on 2023-10-18. Retrieved 2023-03-19.
  31. ^ a b "Beginning - New Year". Archived from the original on 2020-08-04. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  32. ^ "Ukase No. 1735". Полное собрание законов Российской империи. Том III [Complete Collection of Laws of the Russian Empire. Volume III.]. 10 December 1699. p. 682. Archived from the original on 27 June 2023. Retrieved 27 June 2023.
  33. ^ World Time Zone. "UTC+14". Archived from the original on 2 July 2014. Retrieved 1 Sep 2014.
  34. ^ Harris, Aimee (April 1999). "Millennium: Date Line Politics". Honolulu Magazine. Archived from the original on 28 June 2006. Retrieved 14 June 2006.
  35. ^ Greenwich (2008). "Greenwich Meantime, Kiribati". Kiribati Map. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2008.