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Friday, February 7, 2020

Happy Colonial New Year! Wait... What?


It might be a good excuse to rejuvenate my New Year's resolutions and evaluate how I'm doing with my "Word for the Year", but why not take advantage of a little history to do just that?

Did you know that, back in the day when the Colonies were young, it wasn't until 1752
that everyone got on board with the Gregorian Calendar and January First began each new year? For centuries, the New Year belonged to March 25th due to the fact that everyone followed the Julian calendar, which emphasized March 25th as the date of Jesus' conception. However, not only is that questionable (since theologians suggest Jesus was likely born in October), but the whole equinox thing was kind of a mess. In fact, to straighten things out, they had to lose eleven days in September—POOF!—just to get the calendar properly aligned.

Here's the thing, most of the world switched over to our "modern" Gregorian calendar in the 1500s, but it was another two centuries before the British joined the New Year party, because--you know England--they've always been sort of starchy about their traditions. Yet they eventually had to face it. The messed-up calendars affected trade and banking and even George Washington's birthday. (More on that in a sec.) 


So in 1752 Parliament passed the Calendar Act of 1750, and January 1st became the official New Year beginning in 1752.

What I find funny isn't that they changed the date so much as what the new year meant. It wasn't a time to celebrate Baby New Year coming in with a smooch under the mistletoe or tossing confetti. It was a time to collect the rents, pay the tax man, and handle annual paychecks. (Well, yeah for that last one anyway.) 

They did have a few fun traditions—some mumming and wassailing and visiting friends. Oh—and about George Washington... He changed his birthday from February 11th under the old Julian calendar to February 22 under the new one. I'm not sure what the people did who were born during that eleven-day elimination period in September. Maybe the summer loving ones grabbed a date closer to August and the harvest lovers aimed for October. I know which way I'd have gone.

again.

Naomi Musch 

Before you go, mark your Gregorian calendars for Monday-Friday, Feb. 10-14 to get The Deepest Sigh (Echoes of the Heart, Book One) for FREE! Books Two and Three will also be on sale, but for FIVE DAYS ONLY!  

On Sale February 10-14, 2020


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