New Year’s Day Date in the current year: January 1, 2019

New Year’s Day On January 1, millions of people across the globe celebrate New Year’s Day, also called simply New Year’s or New Year. In the countries using the Gregorian calendar, it is probably the most celebrated public holiday. However, in the countries that use calendars other than Gregorian, New Year is often also a popular celebration, although sometimes an unofficial one.

In many ancient cultures, New Year was celebrated around the vernal equinox because the beginning of spring was associated with rebirth and renewal. In the early Roman calendar, March 1 was designated as the first day of the new year. There was an attempt to designate January 1 as the beginning of the year, but it wasn’t successful.

The official adoption of January 1 as New Year’s Day is generally associated with the Gregorian calendar, which is today the most widely used civil calendar in the world. The calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. Some of the countries had adopted January 1 as New Year’s Day before they officially adopted the Gregorian calendar, while others continued with the March date for some time.

Global New Year’s Day traditions include fireworks at the stroke of midnight, drinking champagne or some other kind of sparkling wine, and making New Year’s resolutions. Christians may attend watchnight services that begin late on New Year’s Eve and end after midnight, taking an opportunity to review the year that has passed and make confession.

In Russia and some other former Soviet republics, the celebration of New Year has many attributes associated with Christmas in the rest of the world, including Christmas trees, decorations, a gift-bringing figure (Santa Claus), and family celebrations with lavish meals. This happened because religion was suppressed in the USSR. A fixture of the New Year’s meal in Russia and other post-Soviet states is Olivier salad, made with boiled potatoes, dill pickles, eggs, green peas, chicken or bologna sausage, and sometimes other ingredients, dressed with mayonnaise.

Polar bear plunges are an interesting New Year’s tradition observed in some countries, including the United States, Canada, the UK, Ireland, and the Netherlands. On January 1, people gather on beaches and dive collectively into the cold water to celebrate the new year. Polar bear plunges are sometimes held to raise money for charity.

The most famous New Year’s celebration in the United States takes place in New York City, where at least a million people gather at Times Square to watch the ball drop. At 11:59 on December 31, a time ball begins to descend down a specially designed flagpole. It stops at midnight to signal the start of the new year. The ball drop is broadcast by a number of networks and cable channels, and some cities across the country has adopted similar traditions.

In some countries, New Year’s Day is marked with sporting events. For example, in the United States, it is the traditional date for post-season college football bowl games, accompanied by various celebratory activities. In addition, the NHL Winter Classic has been held on January 1 since 2008. In the UK, the Premier League fixtures take place on New Year’s Day.

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International Observances

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new year's day, new year's day celebration, public holiday, international holiday