Why do we make New Year’s resolutions and what is the history around this tradition?
It’s that time of year again. The festivities are over, we’ve eaten our body weight in pecan pie, and we’ve spent quality time catching up with the family. Now that the end of the year is winding down, everyone’s thinking about making their New Year’s resolutions. Have you ever stopped to think about why we make these promises to ourselves? The history of New Year’s resolutions stretches back a lot farther than you might think.
The ancient Babylonians were among the first to celebrate the new year, approximately 4,000 years ago. However, they celebrated in March and this marked the beginning of planting season. During this festival, they made promises such as pledging their loyalty to their king or vowing to the gods to pay their debts. Unlike modern-day New Year’s resolutions, these were aimed less as self-improvement and more at appeasing the gods and ensuring their continued prosperity.
It was the Romans that created the concept of January 1 and designated it the first day of the year. January is rooted in Janus, a god of particular importance to the Romans due to his two-faced nature. Janus was believed to use one face to look back on the outgoing year and one face to look forward to the next one. Like the Babylonians, Romans made vows of good deeds to Janus before the new year arrived.
What are your New Year’s resolutions? How do you plan on sticking to them? Let us know!
Happy New Year from all of us at Reata Insurance!