Mark Cohen (Calendar Expert): Zog means “the edge,” mu means “the year,” so it's the edge of the year, when the year turns over. The…it's not a celebration. Zogmu is a time, mainly an accounting time, when you would end up the year's 3)ledgers ….
Also 4)unearthed in Mesopotamia were traces of a second ceremony known today as Akitu. It was a week-long festival celebrating the renewal of the city and its continued prosperity. The festival has worked its way into public imagination as the original New Year's celebration. But, unlike New Year of today, Akitu occurred twice a year, usually around the time of both the spring and fall 5)equinox, when day and night are equal in length.
But in many cultures, the ancient calendars still set the dates for traditional festivals, and every culture celebrates its new year in a different way. The Chinese have symbolic feasts and colorful festivals; the Jews, a 6)solemn day of prayer; Hindus light up the night in honor of their goddess; Americans celebrate New Years in their own unique ways with lively parties and free-flowing champagne, colorful parades and football games.
In the mid-1700s New Yorkers borrowed from Chinese tradition and began using fireworks to welcome the new year. Celebrations got so 7)rowdy that in 1773, the 8)legislature outlawed firecrackers, home-made bombs and the firing of personal shotguns to 9)commemorate all future New Years.
The 10)Tournament of Roses started on January 1st, 1890, when the members of the Valley Hunt Club in Pasadena, California, decorated their carriages with flowers to celebrate the abundance of ripening oranges.
It's a time for rebirth, a day to 11)wipe the slate clean and start all over again; a holiday that is as much about the past as it is about looking ahead.