New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day is 1st January, the first day of the year, in the Gregorian calendar, and falls exactly one week after the Christmas Day of the previous year.
New Year’s Day is a public holiday in all countries that observe the Gregorian calendar, with the exception of Israel. This makes it the most widely observed public holiday in the year. View the list of countries that have a public holiday for New Year’s Day.
Some countries may also observe an additional day’s holiday for New Year (see right).
Countries who still use the Julian Calendar observe New Year’s Day on 14th January.
It is traditionally celebrated with firework displays across the globe at 00:00 in the local time zones.
History of New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day was originally observed on 15th March in the old Roman Calendar.
It was fixed at 1st January 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.
Most countries in Western Europe had officially adopted 1st January as New Year’s Day even before they adopted the Gregorian calendar.