Welcome 2012!

Well it feels like a long time ago I sat down to write to you all…Reality of time is odd! First, All the characters and I want to wish you a very happy healthy and great new year. Great, hmmm, an interesting word – in this case it can mean whatever you need/want/desire and or dream. For us at Botanical Beauties & Beasties, it means a continuation of growth, meeting even more new amazing folks, and sharing our world to a bigger group.

As this is New Year’s Day (observed as a work holiday for many) I was wondering about the History of New Years Day – here is what I found…

“The celebration of the new year is one of the oldest holidays. Many believe it was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago it marked the first New Moon after the Vernal Equinox. The Babylonian new year celebration lasted for eleven days. How did New Years Day move from the summer to the winter? A good question, especially since the spring is the season of rebirth, of planting new crops, and of blossoming. Today New years Day is January 1st.

The month of January was named for their god, Janus, who is pictured with two heads. One looks forward, the other back, symbolizing a break between the old and new.

“Janus is the Roman god known as the custodian of the universe. He is the god of beginnings and the guardian of gates and doors. He is lord over the first hour of every day, the first day of the month and January, the first month of the year. Two heads back to back represent Janus, each looking in opposite directions. His double-faced head appears on many Roman coins. Originally, one face was bearded and one was not, most likely representing the sun and the moon. In his right hand he holds a key. He was worshipped at the beginning of planting time, harvest, marriages, births and other important beginnings in a person’s life. 1) Janus the god of beginnings (and endings)  http://www.meridiangraphics.net/janus.htm  / http://www.rense.com/general92/janus.htm

The Greeks paraded a baby in a basket to represent the spirit of fertility. Christians adopted this symbol as the birth of the baby Jesus and continued what started as a pagan ritual. Today our New Year’s symbols are a newborn baby starting the next year and an old man winding up the last year.” –http://new-years-day.com/new-years-history.htm  /

“Early New Year’s Celebrations

…For the Babylonians, the first new moon following the vernal equinox—the day in late March with an equal amount of sunlight and darkness—heralded the start of a new year. They marked the occasion with a massive religious festival called Akitu (derived from the Sumerian word for barley, which was cut in the spring) that involved a different ritual on each of its 11 days. In addition to the new year, Atiku celebrated the mythical victory of the Babylonian sky god Marduk over the evil sea goddess Tiamat and served an important political purpose: It was during this time that a new king was crowned or that the current ruler’s divine mandate was symbolically renewed.

Throughout antiquity, civilizations around the world developed increasingly sophisticated calendars, typically pinning the first day of the year to an agricultural or astronomical event. In Egypt, for instance, the year began with the annual flooding of the Nile, which coincided with the rising of the star Sirius. The first day of the Chinese new year, meanwhile, occurred with the second new moon after the winter solstice.

January 1 Becomes New Year’s Day

The early Roman calendar consisted of 10 months and 304 days, with each new year beginning at the vernal equinox; according to tradition, it was created by Romulus, the founder of Rome, in the eighth century B.C. A later king, Numa Pompilius, is credited with adding the months of Januarius and Februarius. Over the centuries, the calendar fell out of sync with the sun, and in 46 B.C. the emperor Julius Caesar decided to solve the problem by consulting with the most prominent astronomers and mathematicians of his time. He introduced the Julian calendar, which closely resembles the more modern Gregorian calendar that most countries around the world use today. As part of his reform, Caesar instituted January 1 as the first day of the year, partly to honor the month’s namesake: Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future. to read the whole article… http://www.history.com/topics/new-years.

Our ancestors 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. It has become common for folks to celebrate the first few minutes of a brand new year in the company of family and friends.

New Year foods are also thought to bring luck. Many cultures believe that anything in the shape of a ring is good luck, because it symbolizes “coming full circle,” completing a year’s cycle. Some put coins in black-eyed peas and the person who gets the coin in their meal will be prosperous in the coming year.

So – here’s to circles, friends new and old, coins, black eyes peas, Janus- the Roman god of beginnings, and even Julius Caesar for making 2012 New Years in part what we know today as traditions and celebrations.

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