New Year's Day: It's History and Apps for Keeping Resolutions

History of New Year's Day and Resolutions

There are references to the Babylonians, around 2000 B.C., celebrating New Year's in March.

Resolutions started in 153 B.C. with Janus, a mythical Roman king, who had two faces -- one to look at past events and the other to the future--and became an ancient symbol for resolutions.  Janus was also the protector of arches, doors, gates, endings and beginnings, as well as the patron of bridges.

 Janus status at Pointe Fabricio, the oldest bridge in Rome, erected in 62 B.C. Fable is that touching its head brings good luck.

Janus status at Pointe Fabricio, the oldest bridge in Rome, erected in 62 B.C. Fable is that touching its head brings good luck.

In 46 B.C., Julius Cesar developed a calendar, based on a 365-day solar year, that better represented the seasons than previous calendars. The Romans named the first month after Janus, hence our January.  At midnight on December 31, the Romans liked to think of Janus as looking back on the old year, and ahead to the next one.

The Abolishment and Return of January 1 as New Year's Day

In medieval Europe, the celebrations accompanying the new year were considered pagan, and in 567 the Council of Tours abolished January 1 as the beginning of the new year, and celebrations moved to different dates throughout Europe: December 25, March 1, March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation and Easter.

In 1582, the Gregorian calendar reform reinstated January 1 as new year's day.

Resolutions in Colonial America

As recently as the 17th century, Puritans in Colonial America frowned upon the liberality and overindulgences of New Year's Eve celebrations, some even calling January "the First Month" to avoid referring to Janus. Instead, they lectured their children on being reverential on New Year's Eve by reflecting on the past year and making resolutions for the year to come.

Apps to Help you Keep Those Resolutions

I can't personally vouch for any of these, although I'm looking for some type of goal-keeping app so I'll be checking these and others over the next few weeks.

21Habit

Lifetick

Habitforge

Weekplan

CheckMark Goals

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