Ancient New Year’s traditions still in effect today

By Mya Cannon

At the start of each year people all over the world make promises to themselves that they will do something to better themselves in some way during the new year.

Historians believe New Year’s resolutions have been around for almost 4,000 years and were first created by the Babylonians. 

At the beginning of each year, the Babylonians would make promises to their gods that they would pay off the debts they owed and would return anything that they borrowed to its rightful owner.

The new year began in March for them because that is when spring starts so they would start planting their crops around that time.

According to Ancient History of New Year’s Resolutions, only 12 percent of people today actually carry out and succeed with their New Year’s resolutions even though 58 percent of people thought they would succeed in completing their New Year’s resolution.

The Babylonians had a stronger will to succeed in their resolutions than people do today because they believed if they completed it the gods would grant them a good year, but if they did not complete their resolutions the gods would not grant them with a good year.

The Babylonians called the 12 days when they planted their crops “Akitu,” and they had to return the things they borrowed within those 12 days.

Hundreds of years later, the Romans moved the new year from March to January.

January is named after the two faced god Janus who is said to look backwards into the past year and look forward into the upcoming year. The Romans also believed that Janus was the protector of endings and beginnings.

The Romans often made resolutions that revolved around being good to others much like the resolutions people make today.

Today people celebrate the new year on January first, just like the Romans did, and make resolutions that will better themselves and their way of living.

While there is not a direct known link to New Year’s resolutions from the past and the New Year’s resolutions made today, it is believed that past has played a role in today’s traditions.


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