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. It symbolized new growth and a time to look forward to the future – the same meaning that the New Year holds for people today. January 1st on the other hand has no astronomical or agricultural significance.

The Babylonian New Year’s celebration, lasted for eleven days. The Romans continued to observe the New Year in late March, but their calendar was continually tampered with by various emperors so that the calendar soon became out of synchronization with the sun. The Roman calendar had only ten months and started the year on March 1st , which is still reflected in the names of some months which derive from Latin: September 7th, October 8th? November 9th, and December 10th.

Around 713 BC the months of January and February were added to the year, by the second king, Numa Pompilius, along with the leap month Intercalaris. The year used in dates was the consular year, which began on the day when consuls first entered office — fixed by law on March 15th in 222 BC, but this event was moved to January 1st in 153 BC. In 45 BC, Julius Caesar introduced the Julian calendar, dropping Intercalaris; January 1st continued to be the first day of the New Year.

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