New Years Day 2024

1 January 2024
All States    Regional holiday

Although the traditional New Years celebrations on the Hindu Calendar are in the springtime, India also joins with much of the rest of the world to celebrate 1 January as New Years Day, in accordance with the Gregorian Calendar. In fact, New Years celebrations are big in modern India. Many of the Western traditions of New Years Eve have been transported to India, but there is also a bit of a local flavour.

Many families exchange gifts and make prayers on New Years Day. Some stay up to hear the bells ring at midnight and to watch fireworks displays, declaring that the old year has died and the new year has come. This is also a time of remembering the past year and of making resolutions on what one hopes to accomplish in the year ahead. New Years Day was originally observed on March 15th in the old Roman Calendar. When January and February were added during one of the many attempts to clean up the calendar, they were actually added to the end of the year.

The start of the year was fixed on January 1st in 153 BCE, by two Roman consuls. The month was named Janus after the name of the Roman god of doors and gates. Janus had two faces, one facing forward and one looking back, a fitting name for the month at the start of the year. During the Middle Ages, a number of different Christian feast dates were used to mark the New Year, though calendars often continued to display the months in columns running from January to December in the Roman fashion.

For some parts of Europe, New Years Day was determined by Easter, which meant a different New Years Day date every year.