Celebrating January 1st as New Year's Day...
In medieval Europe, however, the celebrations accompanying the new year were considered to have become pagan and unChristian. In 567, the Roman Catholic church, at the Second Council of Tours in France, abolished January 1 as the beginning of the year. Thereafter, at different times and in various places throughout medieval Christian Europe, the new year was celebrated on Dec. 25, the birth of Jesus; March 1; March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation; and Easter, which continues to be based on the lunar calendar.
In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII re-established January 1 as new year's day with calendar reform. Today the Gregorian calendar has become the international standard for civil use. Although most Catholic countries adopted the Gregorian calendar, it was only gradually adopted among Protestant countries, who didn't recognize the Pope as their ecclesiastical leader. The British, for example, did not adopt the reformed calendar until 1752. Until then, the British Empire, and its' colonies, continued to celebrate the new year in March. In the beginning years of British America, Puritans disavowed any new year observances at all. Still associating any celebrations with pagan traditions, Puritans wouldn't speak the word "January," calling it "The First Month" because of the association with the pagan god, Janus.
Given the various measures of time and the influence of power and the persistence of belief, the history of new year has been determined by shifts in liturgical, civic, religious, lunar, solar and seasonal variations. However, by all accounts, celebrating New Year's has been, and continues to be, a time of rejuvenation and renewal, whether reflected upon quietly, with piousness or with days of feasting and frivolity.
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