New Years Resolutions and Why We Make Them

If you came to see what my New Year’s resolutions are going to be, I’m afraid you will be disappointed. I don’t make resolutions, ever! Never have. They seem kind of pointless to me. But, if you do, great! I sincerely hope you are able to keep them.

My friend Lois over at livingsimplyfree asked the question of who started the New Years resolution thing. Great question Lois!

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I decided to look into it, because I was curious myself. So me and my Sleuthing Elf did one more job. We found out how all this resolution business got started. It goes like this:

According to one report here

New Year’s Day celebrations began in pre-Christian times, beginning with the Babylonians in March but changed to January by the Romans. January gets its name from Janus, the two-faced god who looks backwards into the old year and forwards into the new.

The custom of setting “New Years resolutions” began during this period in Rome, as they made such resolutions with a moral flavor: mostly to be good to others. But when the Roman Empire took Christianity as its official state religion in the 4th century, these moral intentions were replaced by prayers and fasting. For example, Christians chose to observe the Feast of the Circumcision on January 1 in place of the revelry otherwise indulged in by those who did not share the faith. This replacement had varying degrees of success over the centuries, and Christians hesitated observing some of the New Year practices associated with honoring the pagan god Janus.

Most commonly, it revolved around returning any borrowed farm equipment, as their New Year coincided with the start of their farming season.

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The New Year has not always begun on January 1, and it doesn’t begin on that date everywhere today.

It begins on that date only for cultures that use a 365-day solar calendar. January 1 became the beginning of the New Year in 46 B.C., when Julius Caesar developed a calendar that would more accurately reflect the seasons than previous calendars had.

The Julian and Gregorian calendars are solar calendars. Some cultures have lunar calendars, however. A year in a lunar calendar is less than 365 days because the months are based on the phases of the moon. The Chinese use a lunar calendar. Their new year begins at the time of the first full moon (over the Far East) after the sun enters Aquarius- sometime between January 19 and February 21.

Although the date for New Year’s Day is not the same in every culture, it is always a time for celebration and for customs to ensure good luck in the coming year.

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The celebration of the New Year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. In the years around 2000 BC, Babylonians celebrated the beginning of a new year on what is now March 23, although they themselves had no written calendar.

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The Chinese set a special New Years resolution – house cleaning. Most people nowadays would relate this to Spring-Cleaning. At the coming of the New Year, the Chinese would clean their house from top to bottom. What a great way to start the year, with a beautiful clean house!
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Today we still set New Years resolutions, and try to achieve them. They are almost always based around self-improvement resolutions and goals. They are a way to mark the beginning of changes in our habits and lifestyle. The most common resolutions include losing weight, quitting smoking and/or drinking, and improving your finances.
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Now for some good humored quotes on New Year.

Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account. – Oscar Wilde

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. – Bill Vaughn

New Year’s Day… now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. – Mark Twain

Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!

This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!
– William Arthur Ward

 

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8 thoughts on “New Years Resolutions and Why We Make Them

  1. This is really interesting. I knew some of it because of schooling the kid and reading about calendars, but I didn’t know about resolutions. I never make them either. I don’t set myself up for failure. 😉 Hey! Because I’ve mostly been to your food blog, I didn’t realize you won NaNo – congratulations! I’ll be into your archives soon and check it out.

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    1. JackieP

      Thank you Maddie! Yes I won NaNo, my first year too, I was so proud! I also won a Book cover, which really excited me!
      Glad you are enjoying my writing blog as well. 🙂

      Like

  2. Pingback: Some History of New Year’s | Something New Under the Sun

  3. I ask and you answer, I love the idea. I have plenty of more questions I can add to the Easter and New Year questions. Those were very interesting facts, I had no idea the practice of resolutions went back so far in history. thank you for such and interesting post, I love the quotes, if I had to pick one it would have to be the one by Bill Vaughn.

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