Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Day

Fact of the Day: New Year's Day

On the Roman republican calendar, the year began on March 1, but after 153 BC the official date was January 1, and this tradition was continued in the Julian calendar of 46 BC. This day was first recognized as New Year's Day with the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain in 1582. It was not until 1752 that the New Style was adopted in Britain -- and Russia was last to recognize this as the date, in 1918. The earliest-known record of a New Year festival dates from about 2000 BC in Mesopotamia, where in Babylonia the new year began with the new moon after the spring equinox and in Assyria with the new moon nearest the autumn equinox.

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