The first recorded festivals honouring the new year go back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon. For Babylonians, the first new moon following the autumn equinox the day at the end of March heralded the beginning of a new year. They commemorated the event with a large religious festival called Akitu (derived from the Sumerian name for barley, cut in spring) that involved a different ritual of 11 days. Atiku celebrated the mythical victory of the Babylonian heavenly god Marduk over the evil sea goddess Tiamat. It served a significant political purpose. It was at this time that the new emperor got crowned.

The first Roman calendar had 10 months and 304 days, each new year beginning at the vernal equinox; traditionally, it was created by Romulus, the founder of Rome, in the eighth century B.C. The next king, Numa Pompilius, is said to have added the months of Januaryarius and February. For many centuries, the calendar came out of harmony with the sun. During 46 B.C. the emperor Julius Caesar decided to remedy the situation by consulting astronomers and prominent figures of his time. He introduced the Julian calendar, which closely parallels the Gregorian calendar, widely used in many parts of the world today.

As part of his reforms, Caesar established 1st January as the first day of the year, in part to honour the name of the moon: Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, whose two faces allow him to look back on the past and move on. The Romans celebrated by offering sacrifice to Janus, exchanging gifts for one another, decorating their homes with laurel branches and attending elaborate parties. In medieval Europe, Christian leaders temporarily replaced January 1 as the first of the year with religious significance, such as December 25 (commemoration of Jesus’ birth) and March 25 (Annual Declaration); Pope Gregory XIII re-established January 1 as New Year’s Day in 1582.

In many lands, New Year’s festivities begin on the evening of December 31 – New Year’s Eve – and continue until the first of January 1. Traders often enjoy snacks and snacks that thought to provide good luck next year. In Spain and many other Spanish-speaking countries, people close the vineyards — symbolizing their hopes for the coming months before midnight. In many parts of the world, traditional New Year customary dishes include legumes, which resemble coins and announce future financial successes; Examples include the Italian creator and the black-eyed peas in the southern United States. As pigs represent the development and prosperity of other cultures, pigs appear on New Year’s Eve table in Cuba, Austria, Hungary, Portugal, and other countries. The ring-shaped cakes and cakes, a sign that the year has come completely, ended the feast in the Netherlands, Mexico, Greece and elsewhere. In Sweden and Norway, meanwhile, rice pudding with an almond hidden inside is served on New Year’s Eve; it is said that anyone who gets a nut can expect a 12-month fortune.

Other common customs around the world include fireworks and singing of New Year resolutions, including the famous Auld Lang Syne in many English-speaking countries. The practice of making New Year resolutions is thought to have been established among the ancient Babylonians, who made vows to gain favour with the gods and began the year on the right foot.

In the United States, one of the most popular New Year festivities is the descent of the big ball in Times Square in New York City at midnight. Millions of people worldwide are watching the event, which has been taking place almost every year since 1907. In time, the ball itself has evolved from a 700 kg metal or wooden orb to a 12 m luminous pattern that weighs about 12,000 kg. Various American cities and towns have developed their version of the Times Square tradition, organizing public drops of items ranging from cucumbers (Dillsburg, Pennsylvania) to possums (Tallapoosa, Georgia) at midnight on New Year Eve.