Monday, November 20, 2006

Origins of New Year's Resolutions

Funny thing about getting the New Year Resolution Program together, it occurred to me that I don’t even know where the tradition comes from…so I did what every person does nowadays, I googled it and discovered a few interesting things.

Did you know that…

The celebration of the New Year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. In the years around 2000 BC, the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon (actually the first visible cresent) after the Vernal Equinox (first day of spring). The beginning of spring is a logical time to start a new year. After all, it is the season of rebirth, of planting new crops, and of blossoming. January 1, on the other hand, has no astronomical nor agricultural significance. It is purely arbitrary.

Traditionally, it was thought that one could affect the luck they would have throughout the coming year by what they did or ate on the first day of the year. For that reason, it has become common for folks to celebrate the first few minutes of a brand new year in the company of family and friends. Parties often last into the middle of the night after the ringing in of a new year. It was once believed that the first visitor on New Year's Day would bring either good luck or bad luck the rest of the year. It was particularly lucky if that visitor happened to be a tall dark-haired man.

The Babylonian New Year celebration lasted for eleven days. Each day had its own particular mode of celebration, but it is safe to say that modern New Year's Eve festivities pale in comparison. For more information about modern day, New Year festivities: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year's_Day

The tradition of the New Year's resolutions also dates back to the early Babylonians. The early Babylonian's most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment.

The early Christians believed the first day of the New Year should be spent reflecting on past mistakes and resolving to improve oneself in the new year

(Dictionary.com)Resolution is from the Latin resolutio, resolution- from resolvere meaning "to loosen or dissolve again," (re- + solvere) which was the original meaning of resolve. The meaning "to determine or decide upon a course of action, etc." was first used in English around 1523.

Now, that I think about it, what I read is what I actually already knew. There has always been something about entering “into” the New Year that has appealed to the people of the world, as a time for; considering new beginnings, doing things “right” from this new day forward and setting out towards self-improvements.

Coach Ann Bernard

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