Earliest celebrations of New Year’s date back to Ancient Babylon, about 4000 year which celebrated it at the first new moon following the Vernal Equinox—in other words, Spring. The Roman Senate picked January 1st arbitrarily in about 153 BC. This is the date we inherited as the turning of the year, but the advent of Christianity threw cold water on New Year’s celebrations which had lasted more than a week up to that point. The Renaissance loosened the Church’s hold over New Year’s and the Church added services of their own, to mark the passing of the year.
Tacoma's First Night family friendly New Year's celebration is a wonderful way to welcome in the New Year and would have been found acceptable even to the Medieval Church. If you don't like spending the night with drunken revelers and want somewhere to take the family, check out First Night. The community is fortunate to have this event that sets Tacoma apart from other cities.
New Year’s resolutions dates back to Babylonian times as well although most involved returning farming implements back then. Modern resolutions more often involve weight loss and fitness. Few and far between are those Americans who do not at least have good intentions of losing weight next year. It is an easy resolution to hit upon as most of us enjoy holiday celebrations that include yummy holiday food. Besides reducing my weight, mine include reducing debt, living more simply and recognizing that I have enough. What are you considering as a resolution for the New Year?
Poster by Joshua Casey, Joshua Casey Designs of Tacoma