Is January 1 the real first day of the year? How did we get the new year celebration custom? Most importantly, what does the Bible say about the new year? The answers to these questions may SHOCK you!
As the clock strikes 12:00 midnight, I’m probably on my bed sleeping.
That’s how I spend my New Year.
Personally, this celebration isn’t a big deal for me and my family.
Long ago, we have learned that the New Year isn’t exactly what it says it is.
However, the majority of this world will be celebrating the changing of a new calendar year on the eve of December 31.
This world reckons January 1 as the first day of the year.
In this post, you will learn the following:
- The brief history of New Year
- The pagan origin of New Year
- What God thinks about New Year?
- When does the year ends and begins according to the Bible?
- Should we participate in the New Year Celebration?
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New Year, then and now
New Year’s Day is among the most popular public celebrations around the world.
But do you know that the New Year has not always been on January 1?
It was in the year 2000 BC that the Mesopotamians started to celebrate the new year but it was during the time of vernal equinox in mid-March.
Later, the early Roman Calendar used March 1.
This calendar has only ten months.
Thus, when you study the names of our calendar months, you would notice some not-so-obvious errors.
For example, September, October, November, and December came from the Latin words, Septem, Octo, Novem, and decem – which means, seven, eight, nine, and ten respectively.
Today, we see September as the ninth month when its name suggests it should be seventh.
We have October to be the tenth month when it should be eighth.
The same goes for November and December that should be ninth and tenth.
It was in 153 BC when the Romans started to celebrate January 1 as the first day of the year.
However, it was not quickly adopted by other cultures and the majority are still celebrating it around march.
In 567 AD, the Council of Tours decided to abolish January 1 New Year Celebration.
This led medieval Christian Europe to celebrate various dates.
Some celebrated New Year on December 25, others on March 1, March 25, and on Easter.
As late as 1751, the United States celebrated the New Year on March 25.
Today, there are still other New Year celebrations that we can see from various countries and cultures.
The Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah.
The Muslims have their Islamic New Year and the Chinese have the Chinese New Year.
The pagan origin of New Year Celebration
The New Year Celebration has its earliest root in the Babylonian celebration of Akitu.
During the first new moon following the vernal equinox, the Babylonians mark the day with great religious festivities.
It was on this day that the Babylonians would parade statues of their gods and perform various rites in 11 days.
These rituals were believed to symbolically clean and recreate the world by their gods.
Akitu was also the time when Babylonians celebrated the victory of Marduk, the sky god, over Tiamat, the evil sea goddess.
Thousands of years after, the New Year Celebration survived and found its way to Rome.
The first month of the year is dedicated to Janus (where we got the name, January), the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology.
He is usually depicted as a god who has two faces – one face looks at the past and the other face looks at the future.
Have you wondered where the New Year’s babe came from?
In ancient Greece, it was a custom for people to parade a baby cradled in a winnowing basket.
This symbolizes the rebirth of the god of fertility.
How about Father Time?
Father Time is a white-haired man carrying a scythe.
He is actually derived from the Greek god Cronos, the god of time.
Cronos was known to be the god who encourages human sacrifice and cannibalism.
What does God think about New Year’s celebration?
Looking at any secular and educational sources, it is no secret that New Year Celebration has its pagan roots. No doubt about that.
As true Christians who want to please God, we need to ask ourselves, “What does God think about the New Year Celebration that has a pagan origin?”
The Bible is clear that we must avoid paganism and any celebration that has pagan roots.
We read in Jeremiah 10:2 clearly tells us:
“Do not learn the way of the Gentiles.”
Deuteronomy 12:29-31 gives us further details:
When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’
You shall NOT worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.
YAHWEH, the true and living God, tells us that we must not follow what the heathens and pagans do.
We must not accept their way of worship.
We should never mix biblical beliefs with pagan beliefs.
We need to keep our religion pure and free of any encroachment of pagan worship.
If not January 1, when is the New Year?
Genesis 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
God created the whole universe and if we are going to know the proper reckoning of time, then we need to go back to His revealed word, the Bible.
Exodus 12:1-2 tells us:
Now the Eternal spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the FIRST MONTH OF THE YEAR to you.”
But what is this month – the month that marks the beginning of months?
One chapter later, that month is named:
And Moses said to the people:
“Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out of this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. On this day you are going out, in the month Abib” (Exodus 13:3-4).
You may ask, when exactly is the month of Abib?
The word Abib refers to the ripe, soft and tender barley grain.
The first month was called Abib because it is the time during the early springtime when the barley starts to ripen and get ready for harvest.
As you now see, the New Year in the biblical sense does not happen in the DEAD OF WINTER.
It happens in springtime – a season of new beginnings, where plants start to sprout and flowers bloom.
The Biblical Calendar is an advanced study for students who want to know more about how God reckons time.
You can learn more about this topic by doing your own research.
Here’s a great place to start your research: “The Surprising Origins of Our Modern Calendar.”
What’s wrong with New Year’s Celebration?
As Christians, we need to seek God’s direction in every aspect of our lives – and that includes whether we celebrate New Year or not.
One of the main reasons why we should not partake in it is because it has pagan origin.
As what was already explained, New Year Celebration is unbiblical and how it is celebrated today goes against biblical principles.
It is worth noting as well that in the Bible, the beginning of the day is not at midnight. Genesis 1:5 shows us that a day starts at sunset.
Moreover, New Year’s Eve is marked with noisemaking and fireworks.
In ancient times, people believe that the use of noise and fire would ward off evil spirits and bring good luck – both of which are not found in the Bible.
Instead of relying on luck and using noise and fire to defend ourselves from the evil spirit, we need to go directly to God and ask for his protection ad blessing.
New Year Celebration is accompanied by excessive drinking.
The bible tells us that it is okay to drink, but only in moderation.
Drunkenness could lead to sexual promiscuity, vehicular accidents, illness, and fight.
The practice of making New Year’s resolution has its pagan roots as well.
In ancient Babylon, people make promises to their gods.
We know what happens to most people who make New Year’s Resolution.
In just a matter of weeks and months or even days, they have already broken their promises.
Wouldn’t it better if we strive to do our best and live by godly principles every day of the year instead of waiting for the year to change?
Will you join the New Year Celebration?
Now that you have read the history of the New Year Celebration and what God and the Bible say about it, the question still remains, “Will you celebrate it?”
I can’t answer this question for you.
I can’t even force you to believe everything that I say.
What I ask of you is to do your own research, believe the Bible, and pray that God will give you the strength and willingness to act upon the truth you learn.
By doing so, you and I are doing the best that we can in doing the will of God and fulfilling His purpose in our lives.