New Year's Day
New Year's Day in United Kingdom in the years 2016, 2017 and 2018.
|New Year's Bank Holiday||1st January||1st - 2nd January||1st January|
New Year's Day - the first day of the year on the western calendar.
As stated by the name, the New Year's Day is the first day of the new year, according with the Gregorian Calendar. It falls on the 1st day of January and it's also the most celebrated public holiday in the World. This is a bank holiday for all residents of the United Kingdom and other western countries admit a period of resting in accordance with their own traditions.
Even if the holiday itself is celebrated the first day of January, great importance is given to New Year's Eve, too. Indeed, the most important time of the year is the countdown which part the last day of December from the first day of the following year, marking the final few hours of December.
Origins of New Years Day
It is believed that the first people who celebrated New Year's Day were the Mesopotamians. The Happy New Year celebrations were also enjoyed by the Romans, which gave great importance to that day, too, since it was the first day of January, the month named after Janus. Janus was a God with two faces, one looking back and the other looking forward; for this reason, it is believed that the New Year's Day celebration has got pagan origins.
During the Middle Ages, New Year's Day was still celebrated, as there were several pagan celebrations, even if most of them were deplored by the Church. However, the New Year's Day was early adopted by Christendom as the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ, falling it 8 days after the birth-date of Jesus (25th of December), therefore this celebration had a Christian relevance. In England, the first day of January was called "Circumcision Style", while the beginning of the year was celebrated the 25th of March and it was called "Feast of the Annunciation" or "Lady Day" or even "Annunciation Style".
It was Pope Gregory XIII who designed the first day of January as the beginning of the year, in his "Inter gravissimas" papal bull, the 24th February of AD 1582.
Modern celebrations of New Year's Day
Even if the celebration itself falls the 31st of December, with great fireworks at midnight (the moment that parts the old year from the new one), the first day of the year is widely celebrated all over the World.
Nowadays, westerners like to enjoy a happy New Year by feasting and drinking during the last few hours of December 31. Town centres erupt with fireworks and New Year's Day is brought in by a cocktail of laughter and cheers of 'Happy New Year'.
In the United Kingdom there are several celebrations. For example, people in London gather along the River Thames to enjoy the spectacle of fireworks and music concerts. Of course, the new year begins when Big Ben strikes twelve. In Scotland, people celebrate the Hogmanay, which starts soon after midnight and lasts through the night and until the morning of the 1st January. Sometimes, when Bank Holiday substitution occurs, even until the 2nd day of January.
*It must be noted that the New Year's Day is a bank holiday for the whole United Kingdom. That's why, if the 1st day of January falls on a weekend, a substitute day is named, to grant the right to off work, or extra pay for working on these days to the workers.