Who Started All This New Year's Resolution Stuff?

With New Year's upon us, everyone is reflecting on things past, hoping for things to come, and making resolutions to improve the things they can. Why? Who started this tradition at the first of every year? Curious, I did a little research.

The first to celebrate the beginning of a new year was the Babylonians on the Vernal Equinox, March 20th (or 21st in some years), at around 2000 B.C.  Besides being the first day of spring, this date has astrological significance. At exactly 7:21 pm EDT the sun crosses over the Earth's equator. Both day and night are of equal length, thus the name, Equinox - equal night. 

It wasn't until the adoption of the solar based Julian Calendar by Rome in 46 B.C. that January 1 was designated as the first day of the new year. It remained until the Council of Taurs abolished the practice in the year 567. The counsel claimed the celebration was pagan and unchristian, and they set the new year on either December 25th, Christmas, March 1, the Annunciation, or on March 25, Easter.

In 1582 the Catholic Church adopted the Gregorian calendar and January 1st was reinstated as the beginning of the new year. The Protestants were slower to adopt the calender, holding out until 1752 when the British finally accepted it. Prior to that, Brittan, and its American colonies, celebrated the New Year in March.

As far as New Year's resolutions, it is the Babylonians we can blame for that tradition, then later, Christians implemented the year end practice of reflection on past mistakes and new year vows to improve.

The song, Auld Lang Syne, was first published by Robert Burns in 1796 after Burns heard the song in his Scottish hometown. The song was popularized by band leader Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians in 1929 after playing it at midnight on New Year's Eve during a party at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.

The words, auld lang syne mean "old long since", or "times gone by." The song asks if old friends and times will be forgotten, and promises to remember people of the past with fondness. Very appropriate sentiments as the old year wanes and the new begins.

Following the ancient tradition of reflection, I think back this New Year's Eve to special moments with my friends and family, accept the hallmark changes, and look forward to things yet to come. Although there are still some unresolved issues (and there will always be), I feel I am at a far better position than at any other moment in my life.  I have learned to have more faith and trust in God, my Father, and life is no longer one crises after another.

My only resolution this year: to continue to deepen my relationship with Him, and all the rest will magically fall in place.

Happy New Year!


  1. I resolve to trust God more (see my blog that will post on Friday). I thought I already was, but He showed me I wasn't.

    Good things will come. I just need to trust Him when I cannot see the way.

  2. Thanks for sharing your research.

    Thank you for allowing me to walk with you this year through your blog...so many posts spoke straight to my heart.
    I will be praying for you as you move, the continue job situation and I look forward to seeing how God answers all these prayers.

  3. Love the time to reflect...doesn't God tell us to "remember" and love beginnings,new journals, new mercies new hopes. Blessings

  4. I did not know all that; thanks for sharing that with us.....

    I have enjoyed getting to know you this year and look forward to all the adventures God will take each of us on next year......Thank goodness we are in the palm of His hand and we can trust Him...

    Happy New Year.....

  5. Thank you for this history, Cecilia; I didn't know any of the New Year origins until your post.

  6. Yes, Lorna. We need to trust, walk in faith and believe in His promises. A difficult situation is a perfect set up for a miracle.

  7. Janette, thank you. I too have appreciated getting to know you through your blog as well, walking with you through your unexpected move, and watching you transform your new dwelling into a beautiful home!

    Life, if nothing else, is at least interesting isn't it? I too am curious to know what He has in mind for this new year.

  8. Yes, Marcia. Reflection on God's mercy and compassion lifts the soul and gives us hope.

  9. I agree Nancy. I have been blessed this last year with many new friends, and I am sure He has more adventures and insights in store for all of us to share. Blessings to you everyday this new year.

  10. I didn't either, Jolina. And I was curious as to how it all started, and why. Now I know, and whether you really wanted to or not, so do you. Thank you for stopping in!

    Looking forward to future posts about your life as a new mom!

  11. Thank you for sharing the interesting information. Your resolution is one we should all make and this will be a special year! Blessings to you in this new year!


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