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Cultural events are listed here with basic background details. For specific events, dates, and times, please see the Featured Events on the Cultural Calendar main page.




January 1st is celebrated across the world as a day for new beginnings whilst many mend a hangover from New Year's Eve celebrations. Many countries, including America celebrate January 1st of the Gregorian Calendar with prayers of gratitude for surviving the previous year. Historically, people aligned their calendars with the moon. The ancient Mesopotamians and Babylonians observed the new year over 4000 years ago. For them, a new year followed the phases of the moon and the vernal equinox – when sunlight and darkness were equally balanced.  

The Babylonians ritualised the vernal equinox with Akitu, a religious observance spanning 11 days. The Egyptians marked the new year with flooded waters of the Nile and the star, Sirius. To date, the Chinese New Year arrives with the second new moon after the winter solstice. The evolution from the lunar calendar to today's Gregorian Calendar devised by Romulus, allegedly suckled by wolves who, along with his brother, Remus founded Rome. The original in the century at the start of the vernal equinox (when the light and the darkness is equal) with ten months and 304 days. Another Roman king, Numa Pompilius added Januarius and Februarius. 

Most historians attribute the Roman emperor Julius Caesar with developing the Julian calenda, designating January 1st as the start of new year. The Gregorian calendar, which many nations around the world use today, arrived in 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII aligned the calendar, not with the moon, but with earth's rotation around the sun – marking 365 days.  

Many countries include New Year's traditions that include pigs – representing progress and abundance, which is common in Portugal, Austria, Cuba, and Hungary. The Mesopotamians and Babylonians were among the earliest cultures to mark New Year's Day as the start of the new year, they came up with making resolutions on the first day of the year to gain favours with the gods. The tradition of cooking and eating black-eyed peas dates to 1500 years as a Jewish tradition when Rosh Hashanah meal arrived in Georgia with Sephardic Jews around 1730. African Americans also marked their freedom on January 1st, 1863, by cooking and eating black-eyed peas.  


1st January every year.


New Year's Day

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