Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Why Did Early Christians And Pagans Fight Over New Year's Day?

From Forbes-

Romans looked forward to the free food and games that occurred at annual New Year's celebrations, but early Christian clerics were not as keen on the revelries. Long before the so-called "war on Christmas," there was the war on New Year's Day.

The Romans called January 1st the Kalends of January. It was termed the Kalendae in Latin or Καλάνδαι in Greek, and was placed on public calendars called fasti. The Kalends is what gives us the modern word "calendar." The Kalendae Ianuariae was a time of particular hope and anticipation for the coming year. It was filled with celebrations and religious rites that focused on the health of individual Romans and of the state.

Romans literally got off on the right foot by leading with their right leg as they entered temples, houses and other doorways on this and many other days. As archaeologist Steven J.R. Ellis has noted, one's right foot was considered far more auspicious than their sinister foot (left foot), and one always wanted to begin auspiciously in a new year.

New Year's celebrations normally began with a large parade within the city of Rome on January 1 that is not all that different from the Tournament of Roses parade that precedes the Rose Bowl. Senators, magistrates, clients and many others met at the houses of the two designated consuls for the year and–at least in the Republic and early empire–traditionally sacrificed two bulls at the temple for Jupiter Optimus Maximus.

More here-


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