Tuesday, December 29, 2009

History of the New Year

Because this is a new blog to me, I am still working on the format of my posts, but for now I know I need to start writing, because if I hold off any longer, I may not begin at all! This was an idea conceived by me as the perfect New Year's resolution, because of its ties to both of my current majors: journalism and history. By experimenting with my own blog, I can only hope to make a bigger name for myself online, as well as making myself more marketable to people in the journalism field.

So, I've decided to do what I can to search the history of the New Years Resolution. This is a tradition among many each year, usually consisting of trying to maintain some personal goal over the year that has yet to be achieved. Not that I'm saying any of these things are bad; I know every year I try in vain to motivate myself to go to the gym more (never does work) or some other personal goal, but as I was writing about my reasons for starting this blog I though perhaps I should push the idea of blogging about Thomas Beckett's death to a later date, and instead focus on this tradition.

A quick search revealed several hits on google. But on the first, and most promising site, I found the month of January is named for a "mythical" early king of Rome, and God of beginnings named Janus (Many "kings" of Rome did later become Gods after their death, but that is a side tangent I shall try not to get into now). The tradition of New Years resolutions dates back to 153 B.C.E. (before current era). Because Janus was depicted with two faces, and could supposedly look into the past and future, the Romans imagined on the New Year Janus would be looking back into the old year, and forward into the future year.

Thus, it is my assumption that because of this mentality, the tradition has changed from one of reflection the the past and future towards literal goals of self improvement not acheived in the past. Today we have evolved a reflection into a list of goals each of us hope to acheive in the New Year.

Regardless of what goals you set for yourself, or don't, make for the New Year, or how (or when) you celebrate, I hope the New Year turns out well for everyone. And as you sit down to draft your list of New Years Resolutions, realize that this is a tradition dating back centuries.

No comments:

Post a Comment