In the past, the “New Year” started in March – understand why

In the past, the "New Year" started in March - understand why

As the scientific knowledge and social structures of the Romans changed over time, so did their calendar. The Romans modified their official calendar several times between the founding of the republic in 509 BC and its dissolution in 27 BC.

a first edition He was only 10 months old and was a homage to what was important in early Roman society: agriculture and religious rituals. The 304th calendar year began in March (Martius) in honor of the Roman god Mars; Harvest time ends in December in the mild climate of Rome.

The Romans linked each year to the date of the founding of the city. Thus, the modern year 753 BC is considered the first year in ancient Rome.

The initial calendar had six months of 30 days each and four months of 31 days each. Names of deities honored in the first four months such as Juno (June); The last six are named according to successive numbers in Latin, giving rise to months such as September (the seventh month, corresponding to the Latin word Seven, which means seven). The end of the harvest also marked the end of the calendar; The winter months are simply not named.

Lunar calendar in Rome

However, the 10-month calendar did not last long. In the seventh century BC, during the reign of the second king of Rome Numa Pompilius, the calendar received a comprehensive lunar reform. The revision involved adding 50 days and borrowing one day out of each of the current 10 months to create two new 28-day months for Northern Hemisphere winter: January (in honor of the god Janus) and February (in honor of VibroRoman Purge Festival).

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The new calendar wasn’t perfect. Since the Romans believed that odd numbers bring luck, they tried to divide the year into odd months; The only exception was February, which was at the end of the year and considered inauspicious. There was another problem: the calendar considered only the moon, not the sun. Since the lunar cycle is 29.5 days, the calendar was often out of sync with the seasons that were meant to be determined.

In an attempt to resolve the confusion, the Romans adopted a more month, Call MercedoniusEvery two or three years. But it was not applied regularly, and many rulers caused even more problems by changing the names of the months.

“The situation got worse because the calendar was not a publicly available document,” he is writing Historian Robert A. Hatch. “It was guarded by priests whose mission it was to make it a success and to fix the dates of religious feasts and holidays and the days when business could or could not be done.”

Origin of the Julian calendar

Finally, in 45 BC, Julio Cesar She demanded a revamped version that became known as the Julian calendar. the outside Designer by Sosigenes of Alexandria, the astronomer and mathematician who proposed a 365-day calendar with a leap year every four years. Although its creator overestimated the length of the year by about 11 minutes, its calendar was in sync with the sun.

Caesar’s new calendar had another innovation: a year beginning at 1the January, your day Consuls– Two men who were the executive branch of the Republic took the position. But although the Julian calendar has persisted for centuries, the date of the New Year was not always celebrated by those who adopted it. Instead, Christians celebrate the New Year on several days of feasts.

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With the exception of some modifications by other Roman rulers, the Julian calendar remained largely unchanged until 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII modified the calendar to indicate more accurately the amount of time it would take the Earth to make a complete circle around the sun. The previous calendar was 365.25 days old; The new calendar now has 365.2425 days. The dates, which were off by about two weeks, have also been changed to match seasonal changes.

Only after the change made by Pope Gregory in 1582 did it become No. 1the January actually became the start of the year — for many. Not everyone has adopted the new Gregorian calendar, and as a result, the Christmas holiday that it celebrate In January for members of the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Although the modern world has mostly adopted the Gregorian calendar, other calendars have persisted. As a result, different cultures recognize different dates as the beginning of the year – and have festivals, rituals, and holidays, such as NowruzAnd Jewish New Year it’s the Chinese New Year To celebrate.

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About the Author: Camelia Kirk

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