By: Sydnee Petruzzi
New Year’s resolutions are a very well-known tradition all throughout the world. They are more commonly known as goals people set for themselves at the start of the new year, but usually the goals that are set get left forgotten or incomplete.
Resolutions began about 4,000 years ago by a group of people called the Babylonians. The Babylonians celebrated their New Year’s in March during the spring harvest. They would hold a twelve-day festival to celebrate. During this festival, they would choose to either crown a new king or renew their loyalties to the old one. They would then bring offerings to their God to pay off any debts they may have had or return any borrowed objects. They did this in the hopes that the God would grant them favors throughout the year.
Later in Ancient Rome, Julius Caesar would create the Julian calendar to replace the Roman calendar. This would create the day we now know as January 1st as the start of the new year. January was incredibly special to the people of Rome. It was named after one of their Gods, Janus. He was a two-faced God, and it was believed that he looked back through the previous year and forward into the next year. This caused Romans to make sacrifices and promises of good behavior for the new year.
Christians used the new year to reflect on past mistakes. In 1740, an English Clergyman created something called the watch night, or the Covenant Renewal Service. This would be held on New Year’s Day or New Year’s Eve and the people attending would sing hymns or read scriptures instead of participating in other activities. The service still occurs to this day, but it is now spent making New Year’s resolutions, instead.
New Year’s resolutions have changed and evolved a lot over time. Today, they have become more of a goal that we set for ourselves during the start of the new year. Which goes along with the running joke that people make New Year’s resolutions, but never actually fulfill them. In fact, a study was done in 2007 that showed most people who made New Year’s resolutions did not complete them by the end of the year. Only eight percent of people would succeed in fulfilling their goals. Two Lenape tech students were asked if they made New Year’s resolutions and if they were successful. Nicholas Toy said, “Yes, I try to stick to them, but it does not always happen.” Noxx Lorigan stated, “I do them every year and I attempt to stick to them.”
New Year’s resolutions are a fun tradition and a fantastic way to start off the new year.