New Year Pavilion

    

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Talk about New Year

In the olden days, the New Year was celebrated at the beginning of Spring when plants are growing and the world is refreshed from the winter. It was Julius Caesar, King of the Roman Empire, who made the calendar revision to suit his empire.  The calendar which Julius Caesar adopted in the year 46 B.C. consisted of a solar year of twelve months and of 365 days with an extra day every fourth year. Julius Caesar wanted to start the year on the Spring Equinox or the Winter Solstice, but yielded to the Roman Senate, which traditionally took office on January 1st, the start of the Roman civil calendar year, to adopt January 1st as the start of the year.  Subsequently the Julian Calendar became widespread as a result of its use throughout the Roman Empire and later by various Christian churches, which inherited many of the institutions of the Roman world.

Although the Julian calendar had been there for over a millennium and a half, a very basic controversy had not been sorted out. The average length of a year in the Julian Calendar is 365.25 days (one additional day being added every four years). This is significantly different from the "real" length of the solar year. This error accumulates so that after about 131 years the calendar is out of sync with the equinoxes and solstices by one day. Thus as the centuries passed the Julian Calendar became increasingly inaccurate with respect to the seasons. This was especially troubling to the Roman Catholic Church because it affected the determination of the date of Easter, which, by the 16th Century, was well on the way to slipping into Summer.

Pope Paul III recruited several astronomers, principally the Jesuit Christopher Clavius (1537-1612), to come up with a solution. When Pope Gregory XIII was elected he found various proposals for calendar reform before him, and decided in favor of that of Clavius. On 1582-02-24 he issued a papal bull, Inter Gravissimas, establishing what is now called the Gregorian Calendar reform. Aside from adjusting the dates between the old and new calendar, the leap year rule is defined as a year divisible by 4 is a leap year unless it is divisible by 100 but not by 400 (in which case it is not a leap year). Thus the years 1600 and 2000 are leap years, but 1700, 1800, 1900 and 2100 are not.

The Gregorian Calendar is the calendar which is currently in use in all Western and Westernized countries, and Dionysius Exiguus's system of numbering years A.D.(related to the birth of Jesus)  has endured to the present time.

Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. The 15th day of the new year is called the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated at night with lantern displays, lantern puzzles and children carrying lanterns in a parade. During the 15-day festival, fireworks are often displayed.

The Chinese Calendar is based on a combination of lunar and solar movements. The lunar cycle is about 29.5 days. In order to match with the solar calendar, an extra month once every few years (seven years out of a 

19-yearcycle) is inserted in a similar concept as adding an extra day on leap year. This is why the Chinese New Year falls on a different date in solar calendar each year.

Traditionally, Chinese New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are celebrated as a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving. The celebration was traditionally highlighted with a religious ceremony given in honor of Heaven and Earth, the gods of the household and the family ancestors. The presence of the ancestors is acknowledged on New Year's Eve with a dinner arranged for them at the family banquet table. The spirits of the ancestors, together with the living, celebrate the onset of the New Year as one great community. The communal feast is called "surrounding the kitchen stove" or weilu. It symbolizes family unity and honors the past and present generations. Departed relatives are remembered with great respect because they were responsible for laying the foundations for the fortune and glory of the family and for protecting the family's future. On the New Year's Day, greetings of Happy New Year are extended from young to old and 'Honbao' (lucky money) are given from old (generation) to young (generation). Kids with many relatives can get loaded handsomely in Chinese New Year. 

Jewish New Year occurs in September or October in solar calendar. Rosh Hashanah, which literally means the head of the year, commemorates the anniversary of the creation of the world. It is celebrated on the first and second days of the 7th Hebrew month, Tishri (10th day Yom Kippur). Rosh Hashanah, is often referred to as the beginning of  the Jewish New Year when all living things are judged.  However, the Hebrew month of Nisan, in which Passover is celebrated, is the first month of the Jewish calendar.

Rosh Hashanah (Tishri month) is actually only one of four symbolic Jewish new year celebrations. The other three are Nisan:  the Hebrew month of Passover marks the birth of the Jews as a free nation. It was also the symbolic new year day for kings; Elul: The Hebrew month preceding Rosh Hashanah was the symbolic new year for tithing animals, an ancient form of giving tzedakah, or charity; Shevat: The Hebrew month of the holiday, Tu Bishvat, was the symbolic new year for trees.

Rosh Hashanah is unique because it is both serious and festive. It is a time of spiritual renewal through prayer and deep personal reflection. It is also a time for families and friends to get together, make amends, ask each other's forgiveness and strive to make the next year better. Religiously, it is the recognition of God as king and judge over all living things. It is during Elul Jews everywhere wish each other Shanah Tovah, a good year; or Le-shanah tovah tikatevu, may you be inscribed for a good year. Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, it is customary to add Le-Shanah tovah tikkateivu ve-tehateimu, may you be inscribed and sealed for a good year. New Year greeting cards are used to reconnect with relatives and friends and let them know the past year's accomplishments and significant future events. 

 

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Happy New Year Quotes

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

New Year's Day is every man's birthday.  ~Charles Lamb

New Year is simply an opportunity, an opportunity to indulge yourself, an opportunity to wipe out the unpleasant, an opportunity to try something new and an opportunity to reflect, to dream and to plan all at the same time. ~ IFC

 

The New Year lies before you
Like a spotless tract of snow
Be careful how you tread on it
For every mark will show.
~Author Unknown~

Top 10 Most Common New Year Resolutions

1) Lose weight.
2) Stop smoking.
3) Stick to a budget.
4) Save more money.
5) Find a better job.
6) Become more organized.
7) Exercise more.
8) Be more patient at work/with others.
9) Eat better.
10) Become a better person.

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