When the first Roman calendar came up with 355-days, it worked on a four-year cycle. Every other year, an additional month was inserted between March (Martius), the first month of the year, and February (Februrarius), the last month of that calendar year. It was done to catch the up the calendar with the Earth’s orbit of the Sun. That additional month was called Mensis intercalaris that brought the missing 22 or 23 days. But it was eventually misused by people and especially priests as they were responsible for declaring when the interclaris month should begin and end.
About Julian Calendar
Julian calendar’s beginnings are said to be crazy. To wipe out the negligence caused in the past, in the year 46 BC, it needed to extend to 445 days. This year was declared as the “year of confusion.” But after this year, the calendar year started. The intercalation was abolished, and each year was increased to 365 days with a leap year added every fourth year to February. The months of the calendar which Romans followed after Ceaser’s shakeup are familiar to us. They included Ianuarius, Februarius, Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Iunius, Guintilis, Sextilis, September, October, November, and December.
About Gregorian Calendar
Even though the Julian calendar was relatively accurate, its use of 365.25 days was opposed and said 365.2425 to be precise. This created discrepancy in the calendar. The calendar was later reformed due to some discrepancies. Today, the Gregorian calendar is the unofficial calendar of the US and UN and for most of the countries around the world.
The reason behind the New year celebration on January 1
Along with the changes in the calendar, Caesar set the New Year to January 1. It was since 153 BC when January 1 used to be the day of new counsels in Rome took office. But since before, even Caesar’s time, people celebrated New Year. The difference was it was celebrated at different times and different months across the globe. In ancient Babylon, this began after the spring equinox in March and also included celebration while subjecting the king to ritual humiliation. Throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, New Year’s celebration on January 1 was discouraged. It changed when the Gregorian calendar was instituted in Catholic nations. It was when January 1 became the official New Year.
- Many protestant nations ignored the Gregorian calendar. England also stuck to the Julian Calendar until 1751 before it finally made a switch. Many orthodox countries took even longer to accept the change in calendars. It was after the Russian Revolution in 1917 when Russia turned the calendar into Gregorian. The major drawback was also seen when in the year 1908, the Russian Olympic team arrived 12 days late to the London Olympics because of the calendar.
- The Gregorian calendar doesn’t have a leap year after every four years.
All these factors prove that why and how January 1 was chosen to be the start of New Year’s. It is still celebrated as the new year around the world. Many countries could have other days as New Year but, January 1 is the official New Year.