January 1st - the first day of the year is a day of traditional religious feast and an occasion for celebration. This time it is the dawn of the year two thousand and eighteen, the year during which all of us hope peace throughout the world and particularly harmony and economic prosperity in our motherland –Sri Lanka.
January first came to be fixed as the first day of the year- New Year day in 158 B.C. Years were named and numbered after two Roman consuls. The date was chosen for military reasons. Throughout the middle ages a variety of Christmas feast days were used while the calendars often continued to display the months columns running from January to December in the Roman fashion and in most countries in the Western Europe January first was officially adopted as the New Year day even before they adopted the Gregorian calendar.
New Year in the universe
In the Eastern Orthodox churches, the New Year falls on January14, the first in the Julian calendar which has been adopted. Both in Gregorian and Julian New Year holidays are celebrated in most of the countries where Eastern Orthodox predominates. As such New Year is celebrated both as a civic holiday or the Gregorian day and as a religious holiday or the Julian day.
God Janus with two faces
Romans derived the name for the month of January from their god Janus with two faces, one looking forward and the other backward. The practice of making resolutions to rid oneself from bad habits which were followed during the old year and to adopt better ones during the New Year. This practice is also dated to earliest times. This means that one should look back to realize the mistakes done during the year that is ended and to look forward to select better ones to be adopted during the New Year,
New Year in Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka January first is regarded as the beginning of the New Year administratively. Sinhala and Tamil New Year falls on April 13 or14 with the transition of the Sun from Pisces to Aries. The New Year in Khmer, Thai, Laos and Burma falls due from 13 to 15 April and often concedes with the Sinhala and Hindu New Year.
The tournament of Rose parade in California dates back to 1886. In this parade the bowl of cut roses was carried. In that year members of the valleys hut club decorated their carriages with flowers. It resembles the ripping of the orange crop in that country. As part of the Rose bowl New Year foot ball game was played in 1902. In the following year it was followed by chariot races but the foot ball game returned in 1916 as the sports centrepiece of the festival. Many customs of the New Year festivals note the passing of the time with regrets for errors and mistakes during the old year and anticipation for luck and prosperity in the New Year.
Now New Year is celebrated in Sri Lanka
We in Sri Lanka prepare milk-rice and oil cakes for the New Year feast. New Year dawns with the sound of crackers mixed with music, blessings and greetings. Many people mark the New Year with religious observations. Buddhists offer Dana and puja to the monks and Hindus make oblations to the deities. Christians go to the church for The Year prayers and Muslims attend to religious rites in their mosques.