And so a new year begins and we are officially in 2018. Time truly waits for no man! Our local gyms will be packed with folks who have resolved to make 2018 their year for fitness. New hobbies will be started and a fresh start is felt by all.
The history of the tradition of New Years’ resolutions had its start some 4,000 years ago. Ancient Babylonians celebrated the start of the new year in late March when the hours of daylight and night were equal. As time drew on, civilizations developed more sophisticated calendars until the Julian calendar was developed by Julius Caesar. Caesar selected January 1 as the first day of the new year, honoring in part Janus, the Roman God of beginnings.
To celebrate, the Romans offered sacrifices to Janus and exchanged gifts with one another. The tradition of celebration has continued throughout time with many countries celebrating the eve of the new year. Many countries have adopted traditional meals that are thought to bring good luck for the upcoming year. In Spain, it is tradition to eat grapes right before midnight, each one representing a hope for the coming year. Some countries, like the US and Italy, favor foods that resemble coins and thus suggest future financial success (think lentils and black-eyed peas). In Greece, Vasilopita is served with a coin hidden inside. Whoever gets the coin is granted a year of good luck. In Cuba, a roast suckling pig is served to start the New Year off right. Of course, in just about every culture, toasting the New Year is essential, and many countries celebrate with fireworks and songs, such as “Auld Lang Syne”.
The practice of making resolutions is thought to have started with Babylonians, who made promises to gain the favor of the Gods and start the year off right. This constant theme of renewal and beginning again has stayed with us throughout history, although the focus has shifted from pleasing the gods to self-improvement. Interestingly, recent surveys in the US show that 68% of Americans made resolutions in 2015 while only 58% did in 2017. Of that 58 %, only about half kept their resolutions!
While we hope you all make and keep resolutions that improve your life and the life of those around you, we want to focus our wishes for you to a very happy, healthy and successful 2018. Happy New Year!