Li: ritual, propriety, etiquette. Hsiao: love within the family (parents for children and children for parents. Yi: righteousness--the noblest way to act in a situation. Xin: honesty and trustworthiness. Jen: benevolence, humaneness towards others. Chung: loyalty to the state and authority. --Confucius (Kong Fuzi)

All articles appear in reverse chronological order [newest first].

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I believe the past is relevant, sometimes more than others of course. In most cases we are seeing history being repeated, so it is most relevant.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Happy Holidays: The New Year

part 6 of 8 by Glenn Littrell 

Dec 31, New Years Eve:
In the Gregorian calendar, New Year's Eve, the last day of the year, is on December 31. In many countries, New Year's Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat, drink alcoholic beverages, and watch or light fireworks to mark the new year. Some people attend a watch night service. The celebrations generally go on past midnight into January 1 (New Year's Day).

Island nations of Kiribati and Samoa are the first to welcome the New Year while Honolulu, Hawaii is among the last places to welcome the New Year.

The celebration of this holiday begins when Americans gather to wish each other a happy and prosperous coming year. At the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, people cheer and sing "Auld Lang Syne." The song, which means "old long since" or roughly "the good old days," was written by Robert Burns in 1788.
01-02-2010 06;22;47PM

Making New Year's resolutions – pledges to change for the better in the coming year – is a common activity associated with this holiday. It is traditional to make toasts on New Year's Eve as well. Typically, the old year is represented by "Father Time," an elderly man with a flowing gray beard, and the new year is represented by an infant.

One of the largest celebrations in the world is at Times Square in New York City where the New Year's Eve Ball descends at the stroke of midnight. The "dropping of the ball" is a custom derived from harbor time signals, a common visual synchronization procedure once used primarily for navigation and astronomy. Times Square has been the center of worldwide attention since 1904 when the owners of One Times Square began conducting rooftop celebrations to usher in the new year.

New Year's Day is the oldest and most universal holiday. The Romans were the first to observe January 1 as New Year's Day in 153 B.C.

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII instituted the Gregorian calendar still in use today, setting January 1 as New Year's Day. Prior to this, many countries celebrated the new year on April 1st in celebration with the new spring season. It was celebrated much the same way as it is today with parties and dancing into the late hours of the night. The origin of April Fools' Day can be traced to this change.

Religious observances:

  • Holy Day of Obligation: In the Roman Catholic Church, January 1 is a Holy Day of Obligation honoring Mary, Mother of Jesus. All faithful Catholics must attend Mass on January 1. However a vigil Mass may be held on the evening before a Holy Day; thus it has become customary to celebrate Mass on the evening of New Year's Eve. (New Year's Eve is a feast day honoring Pope Sylvester I in the Roman Catholic calendar, but it is not widely recognized in the United States.)
  • Watch Night: Many Christian congregations have New Year's Eve watch night services. Some, especially Lutherans and Methodists and those in the African American community, have a tradition known as "Watch Night", in which the faithful congregate in services continuing past midnight, giving thanks for the blessings of the outgoing year and praying for divine favor during the upcoming year. In the English-speaking world, Watch Night can be traced back to John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, who learned the custom from the Moravian Brethren who came to England in the 1730s. Moravian congregations still observe the Watch Night service on New Year's Eve. Watch Night took on special significance to African Americans on New Year's Eve 1862, as slaves anticipated the arrival of January 1, 1863, when Lincoln had announced he would sign the Emancipation Proclamation.

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  • Dec 31, Feast of St. Sylvester(Pope): Saint Sylvester I (also spelled Silvester) born Rome [Italy]—died 335, Rome. Western feast day December 31, Eastern feast day January 2), pope from 314 to 335, whose long pontificate saw the beginnings of the Christian Roman Empire.
    A presbyter when elected to succeed Pope St. Miltiades (Melchiades), Sylvester was consecrated on Jan. 31, 314. The most important event of his reign was the Council of Nicaea (May 325), which condemned the Alexandrian Christian priest Arius, founder of Arianism, a heretical doctrine teaching that the Son was neither equal with God the Father nor eternal. While the Roman emperor Constantine I the Great favored Christianity and was a major controller of its ecclesiastical affairs, neither he nor his immediate successors gave any official recognition to papal primacy over the church. Thus, it was a rare and significant exception when Sylvester was accorded a preeminent role in the Arian crisis. Although invited, he did not attend the Council of Nicaea personally but was represented by two legates, who were treated with great honor and respect yet did not preside at the debates.
  • Jan 1, New Years Day: New Year's Day is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar used in ancient Rome. With most countries using the Gregorian calendar as their main calendar, New Year's Day is the closest thing to being the world's only truly global public holiday, often celebrated with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts. New Year's Day is a postal holiday in the United States.

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Ancient New Years:

The celebration of the new year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. In the years around 2000 BC, the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon (actually the first visible crescent) after the Vernal Equinox (first day of spring).

The beginning of spring is a logical time to start a new year. After all, it is the season of rebirth, of planting new crops, and of blossoming. January 1, on the other hand, has no astronomical nor agricultural significance. It is purely arbitrary.

The Babylonian new year celebration lasted for eleven days. Each day had its own particular mode of celebration, but it is safe to say that modern New Year's Eve festivities pale in comparison.

The Romans continued to observe the new year in late March, but their calendar was continually tampered with by various emperors so that the calendar soon became out of synchronization with the sun.

In order to set the calendar right, the Roman senate, in 153 BC, declared January 1 to be the beginning of the new year. But tampering continued until Julius Caesar, in 46 BC, established what has come to be known as the Julian Calendar. It again established January 1 as the new year. But in order to synchronize the calendar with the sun, Caesar had to let the previous year drag on for 445 days.

The Romans dedicated New Year's Day to Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings for whom the first month of the year (January) is also named. After Julius Caesar reformed the calendar in 46 BC and was subsequently murdered, the Roman Senate voted to deify him on the 1st January 42 BC[2] in honor of his life and his institution of the new rationalized calendar.[3] The month originally owes its name to the deity Janus, who had two faces, one looking forward and the other looking backward.

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII instituted the Gregorian calendar still in use today, setting January 1 as New Year's Day. Prior to this, many countries celebrated the new year on April 1st in celebration with the new spring season. It was celebrated much the same way as it is today with parties and dancing into the late hours of the night. The origin of April Fools' Day can be traced to this change.

Most countries in Western Europe officially adopted January 1 as New Year's Day somewhat before they adopted the Gregorian calendar. In England, the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25, was the first day of the new year until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1752. The March 25 date was known as Annunciation Style; the January 1 date was known as Circumcision Style,[5] because this was the date of the Feast of the Circumcision, considered to be the eighth day of Christ's life, counting from December 25 when his birth is celebrated. This day was christened as the beginning of the New Year by Pope Gregory as he designed the Liturgical Calendar.

by Glenn Littrell


INTRO            December 1

The Holidays: An 8 part Series

This list will be updated with a link to each Part the day it is uploaded.

10 Things Christians Shouldn’t Do At Christmas

18

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