The earliest recorded New Year's celebration is thought to be in Mesopotamia around 2000 B.C., according to Earth Sky. While the celebrations actually occurred during the vernal equinox in mid-March — as this was considered the start of the new year by the calendar at the time — an eleven-day festival was held that would probably put our current parties to shame. According to History.com, the Ancient Mesopotamian people performed rituals, celebrated the religious victory of the sky god Marduk over the sea goddess Tiamat and either crowned a new king or allowed their old king to continue his reign.
The new year wasn't always celebrated in January, according to History.com. The Ancient Roman calendar used to follow the lunar cycle, and had the new year beginning in March. Sosigenes, an astronomer, convinced Julius Caesar to follow the solar year, instead. From 46 B.C. on, the new year began in January.
Starting the new year in January was partially done to honor the god Janus, for whom the month was named. Since Janus had two faces, he was able to look back into the past and forward into the future simultaneously, making him a great spokesperson for the holiday we celebrate today.
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However you celebrate, stay safe and look forward to all that lies ahead in this new territory of 2020.