The Tradition of New Year Resolutions
by Weam Namou
Ancient Babylonians started the tradition of making New Year Resolutions some 4,000 years ago. They made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. For the Babylonians, the first new moon following the vernal equinox—the day in late March with an equal amount of sunlight and darkness—heralded the start of a new year. They marked the occasion with a massive religious festival called Akitu (derived from the Sumerian word for barley, which was cut in the spring) that involved a different ritual on each of its 11 days.
According to www.adoptionworld.com, late March is actually a logical choice for the beginning of a new year. It is the time of year that spring begins and new crops are planted. January 1st, on the other hand, has no astronomical nor agricultural significance. It is purely arbitrary. The Romans continued to observe the new year on March 25, but their calendar was continually tampered with by various emperors so that the calendar soon became out of synchronization with the sun.
The celebration of the new year is the oldest of all holidays. If there’s one thing to learn from it is that we should stop tampering with nature and ancient wisdom. Perhaps then more people than the current 8 percent will achieve their New Year’s Resolutions.