The first day of the year is somehow sacred; it marks our destiny for the whole year ahead. It is a date of great superstition where words, acts, meetings, food and gifts are lucky signs. If every country, every people, every religion celebrates this long-awaited festival in its own way, everyone has its codes and its unchanging rites of “passage” to ward off bad luck and to attract luck during the three universal customs of the New Year: New Year’s Eve , the wishes, the presents. Songs, dances, toasts, embraces are made in joy, light and noise to bury the old year and celebrate the birth of the new under the best auspices. Music, party favors, firecrackers, horns, candles and fireworks having always had the power to scare away evil spirits!
The New Year, also called New Year’s Day, is the first day of the year. Not all countries have the same timetable. Their origin, their method of calculation and their duration being appreciably different, the new year is celebrated all over the world, but on a date corresponding to the calendar of each one. The Julian and Gregorian calendars are based on the solar type based on the cycle of the seasons and the time of revolution of the Earth around the Sun. Our Gregorian calendar lasts three hundred and sixty-five or three hundred and sixty-six days, spread over twelve months of thirty or thirty-one days, except the month of February, which is twenty-eight or twenty-nine days if the year is – or not – leap. It bears the name of Pope Gregory XIII, who imposes it in 1582 and decrees, that same year,Julius Caesar in the Julian calendar having proved too long. It is also decided, in order to avoid the delay of three days in four hundred years, to suppress the extra day destined to render the end of the century, 1700, 1800, 1900, and add one day to the month of February every four years. That is why this calendar is still today in advance of thirteen days on the Julian calendar, which the Christians of the East have preserved.
Rites of purification
New Year’s Day was not always celebrated on January 1st. Historians place his first celebrations in Babylon, two thousand years before our era. At the end of March, the festivities and rites of purification last ten days. Under high antiquity, the sun being the first and sovereign deity, the ceremonies associated with the new year take place in his honor. In Egyptancient, the annual flood of the Nile being the major event of the year, the New Year’s Day begins with the first signs of rising waters. At this festival, the most popular of the Egyptians, everyone makes offerings to the dead and the gods, including Re, the sun god, whose birthday is celebrated on this occasion. In ancient Rome, Romulus starts the year on March 1st; Caesar, in 45 BC J.-C, January 1st. In the old Roman calendar, September is the seventh month; October, the eighth … and March, the first month of the year of Martius, name of the god of war that begins with spring. The word “january” comes from the Roman god Janus, from the Latin janua “portal” or “discovery”.
All the portals of Rome are under the protection of Janus, god of the Gates, and since they are used to enter as if to go out, this god has two faces. The first looks forward, the second back. This is exactly what we do on New Year’s Eve, looking back over the past year while wanting to look forward into the future. New Year’s Day, the doors of the temples are open, we offer presents, our new year gifts, read page 50, we exchange greetings and we say prayers that Janus listens, as recalls Ovidin his Fasts: “But why do we say happy words to your calends, and why do we make this exchange of vows?” Then the god, leaning on the stick that he held with his right hand, said: “Usually beginnings include omens. At the first word, you reach a fearful ear and it is the first bird seen that consults the augur. The temples of the gods are open, as are their ears: no language formulates vain prayers; words have their weight. ”
In France , the official date of the beginning of the year varies over the centuries. Under the Merovingians, the First of the year is celebrated on March 1st; under the Carolingians, at Christmas; and under the Capetians, March 25. In the eleventh century, under the influence of the Church, he was transferred to Holy Saturday. It was in the 15th century, on August 9, 1564, that Charles IX, by the Isidore Roussillon edict, fixed January 1st as the first day of the first month of the year. Article 39 announces: “Let us desire and order that in all acts, registers, instruments, contracts, ordinances, decrees so patent and missive, and any private script, the year shall henceforth begin and be counted from the first day of this means of January.
In 1792, the calendar becomes republican, and it is decreed that the year will begin the day when the sun crosses the equinoctial point of autumn. This day, which happens to be the 22nd of September, 1792, is called primidi 1st Vendemiaire of year I of the Republic. In accordance with the Republican calendar, January 1 corresponds to about 11 Nivose and December 31 to 11 Pluviose. On September 22, 2011, we thus passed from the year 219 to the year 220 of the revolutionary calendar. On the 22nd Fructidor, year XIII, September 9, 1805, Napoleon abrogates the republican calendar and establishes the restoration of the Gregorian calendar from January 1st, 1806. January 1st will become a legal holiday by a decree of the Council of State March 23, 1810. New Year’s Eve, traditional New Year’s Eve dinner, is also called New Year’s Eve, named after Pope Sylvester 314-335, celebrated on December 31st.
For New Year’s Eve, we dress in shiny, silvery, golden, sequined fabrics, the tradition that we want to wear at least a new piece on the first day of the year. On the menu, seafood, including oysters – consumed since Antiquity, Apollinaire, like Casanova, lent them aphrodisiac virtues – and foie gras. The pharaohs and Romans already loved it and stuffed the geese with figs jecur ficatum, “liver made with figs”. On the table, too, caviar. This secular Caspian Sea fish, which has become the biggest luxury symbol – prized by Genghis Khan, and was also Rabelais’ and Shakespeare’s favorite dish – is world-renowned as “black gold” for its taste. end and its energetic power. But it’ Especially in pastry, sweet and spicy, there are traces of pagan and religious symbols in French regions. A festive food par excellence, honey – a solar symbol of purity and sweetness – is already present in the delta of the Nile; the Greeks lend him the gift of prophecy, and the Chinese in the tenth century the mikong “bread of honey”, gingerbread to be adopted by the Arabs and imported to the West during the Crusades.
Spices, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, with pointed or solar shapes cakes cat, star, wheel, prove to be protective. These biscuits were thought to have magical effects against bad luck and diseases, horns and spikes having always been used against wizards and evil spells, hence the names Limousin horns or corneas Berry. This is how the picturesque expression “to be happy like a rooster in a dough” comes from the lucky little cake in the shape of a rooster offered in the Bourbonnais with New Year’s greetings. If each region had its forms and its names of cakes, it is likely that – like the Vosges brioches called quenieux the tradition, still respected today, wants that the godfathers offer one to their godson at the new year – the keugneux or cogneux Lorraine queniolles Nord, coignolles or cougnous Flanders, cugnaux Ardennes, cugnots or cognots Champagne, quinieu or cugneux Franche-Comté, cuignets or cuegnets Somme, etc., are terms patois contracted “mistletoe nine”, resulting from the expression “Mistletoe” the year nine “Celtic customs. The same etymological root is found in guillauné or Guillaneu Touraine, Guillanneuf Burgundy, Aguilaneu Poitou, Guyané or Aguyano Brittany, Guénel Picardie, Auguinel or Aguignettes Normandy, the gift cake that children – guisarts – demand during the quest tours of the new year. In Corsica, I eat i strenni, in the form of bread with two heads in tribute to Janus. are terms patois contracted “mistletoe nine”, resulting from the expression “the mistletoe year nine” of Celtic customs. The same etymological root is found in guillauné or Guillaneu Touraine, Guillanneuf Burgundy, Aguilaneu Poitou, Guyané or Aguyano Brittany, Guénel Picardie, Auguinel or Aguignettes Normandy, the gift cake that children – guisarts – demand during the quest tours of the new year. In Corsica, I eat i strenni, in the form of bread with two heads in tribute to Janus. are terms patois contracted “mistletoe nine”, resulting from the expression “the mistletoe year nine” of Celtic customs. The same etymological root is found in guillauné or Guillaneu Touraine, Guillanneuf Burgundy, Aguilaneu Poitou, Guyané or Aguyano Brittany, Guénel Picardie, Auguinel or Aguignettes Normandy, the gift cake that children – guisarts – demand during the quest tours of the new year. In Corsica, I eat i strenni, in the form of bread with two heads in tribute to Janus. the gift cake that children – guisarts – claim during New Year’s quest rounds. In Corsica, I eat i strenni, in the form of bread with two heads in tribute to Janus. the gift cake that children – guisarts – claim during New Year’s quest rounds. In Corsica, I eat i strenni, in the form of bread with two heads in tribute to Janus.
We feast, we drink champagne
In Rome, dates, particularly popular, are offered filled with a coin for New Year’s Day. According to Pliny the Elder, “When they are fresh, the dates are so delicious that only the danger of perishing stops you from eating them.” This tradition of the lucky charm coin hidden in the cake or New Year’s Bread comes from the Saturnalia, those Roman bawdy festivals that have been perpetuated throughout the ages, especially in the slab of the Kings of the Epiphany. We feast, drink champagne with toasts “Happy New Year! Good health!” and breaking at midnight the glass in which we drank; we dance and, after the symbolic kiss under the mistletoe, we address the telephone greetings of a happy new year. The next day, he is
At the time of the Gauls, the mistletoe was already a sacred plant, possessing magical virtues attributed to its perpetual greenness. In Commentaries on the Gallic War, Julius Caesar writes in – 52: “The mistletoe is very difficult to find.When it was discovered, the druids will look for him with respect and always on the sixth day of the moon, day so revered by them that he is the the beginning of their months, of their years, of their very centuries, which are only thirty years old … When the druids have prepared under the tree all the apparatus of the sacrifice and the feast which they must make there, they bring two white bulls, which are then attached by the horns, then a priest in a white robe goes up on the tree and cuts with a gold serpette the mistletoe … The druids believe that the water where one has soaks the mistletoe makes all animals that drink it fertile and it is a specific remedy against all kinds of poisons.The ceremony of picking mistletoe is the most solemn of all those practiced by the Druids. “Since the Middle Ages, where one proclaimed” Oheli anh er “” The wheat raises “, it is thus related to the rites of the new year .
First bath of the year
Nowadays, according to the custom – of English origin – a ball of mistletoe is hung on the ceiling of the living room or above the door of entry and, at midnight, one kisses below by exchanging wishes. It would be customary to give as many kisses as berries mistletoe counted on the bouquet as a token of sentimental happiness between spouses, a husband in the year for girls, many children for newlyweds. The evening can be extended by playing cards – winning luck and prosperity. The brave inhabitants of the seashore purify themselves by taking the first bath of the year, while others open the windows to let go the old year, then the door, to let in the news.
During the twelve knocks of midnight, this fateful moment when everything seems possible, it is advisable to pay attention to the first times: one must be in a good mood to be it all the year and especially not to utter bad words. In The Book of Superstitions, Eloise Mozzani warns that for the year to be good, the first person seen must be of a different sex; if it is an enemy of the family, the year will be bad; and it is a bad omen that a woman wishes you the first year … Finally, it is said that the day of the week of January 1 determines the time of the year: falling on a Sunday in 2012, the winter will be mild, wet spring, summer and windy autumn.
The custom of the vows became postal thanks to an Englishman, Sir Henry Cole, inventor of the Christmas card in 1843. Around 1895, with the increasing progress of the printing press, what was a game became an almost obligatory custom causing the sacks to burst. in January. But in recent years, the phone and the Internet are replacing these pretty cards. Too bad, because, far from being a chore, the effort to write a few words shows a gesture of civility and friendship. The new year is also an opportunity to make good resolutions. A use transmitted to us by the Babylonians, who, in the new moon after the spring solstice, decided not to stop smoking or to play sports, but, more prosaically, to return to their neighbors the agricultural equipment borrowed. during’ past year. Yes, every year, it’s the same commitment, the same challenge, but … So, let’s choose at least one, big or small, and this year – promised, sworn -, let’s stick with it!