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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Should A Christian Celebrate New Year's Eve / Day?

New Year's Eve/Day

The Bible admonishes Christians to "walk decently, not in revelries and drunken bouts." (Romans 13:12-14; Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Peter 4:3) Since New Year's festivities are often characterized by the very excesses that the Bible condemns, Christians do not participate in these excesses. The Bible admonishes Christians to be moderate and self-controlled in their conduct. (1 Timothy 3:2, 11)

In addition, New Year's celebrations are rooted in pagan customs as can be read about in the references quoted in the paragraphs below. False worship is unclean and detestable in the eyes of Jehovah God, and Christians reject practices that have such origins. (Deuteronomy 18:9-12; Ezekiel 22:3, 4) The apostle Paul wrote: "What fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness? Further, what harmony is there between Christ and Belial?" For good reason, Paul added: "Quit touching the unclean thing."—2 Corinthians 6:14-17.

"In ancient Rome, the first day of the year was given over to honoring Janus, the god of gates and doors and of beginnings and endings. . . . New Year's Day became a holy day in the Christian Church in A.D. 487, when it was declared the Feast of the Circumcision. At first, parties were not allowed on this day because the pagans had followed that custom. This was gradually changed and celebrations could again be held." -The 1966 World Book Encyclopedia, Volume 14, page 237

New Year's festivities are not new. Ancient inscriptions indicate that they were held in Babylon as early as the third millennium B.C.E. The celebration, which was observed in mid-March, was crucial. "At that time the god Marduk decided the destiny of the country for the coming year," says The World Book Encyclopedia. The Babylonian new year celebration lasted 11 days and included sacrifices, processions, and fertility rites.

For a time, the Romans too began their year in the month of March. But in 46 B.C.E., Emperor Julius Caesar decreed that it should begin on the first of January. That day was already dedicated to Janus, the god of beginnings, and now it would also mark the first day of the Roman year. The date changed, but the carnival atmosphere persisted. On the first of January, people "gave themselves up to riotous excess and various kinds of heathen superstition." -McClintock and Strong's Cyclopedia.

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