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January wasn't always month to mark New Year

Published 01/01/2016

Most of us look to the New Year as if it was always set in stone on January 1, yet the New Year used to be celebrated in most British dominions on March 25 until the Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1752.

The Biblical, or Hebrew, New Year also began in Spring. A vestige of England's Spring New Year is still with us in the form of the tax year beginning in April. The pagan links to the New Year in the Spring involve the Equinox.

In Church circles, January 1 liturgically marked the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ. The Romans dedicated the day to Janus, from whence we get the word "January". This year, the Gregorian calendar will be 2016 and the Biblical (Hebrew) calendar, which Jesus observed, will be 5776, dated from Creation.

We have a New Year in January, but that has not always been so. If Yeshua (Jesus) were to return, He'd likely recognise the calendar He used in Nazareth - not the one set in place by Pope Gregory XIII, or the holidays and weekdays named after pagan deities.

COLIN NEVIN

Bangor, Co Down

Belfast Telegraph

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