PEARTREE LIFE: Experiencing Languages

New Year Resolutions... Why do we make them and what is their origin?

The New Year is here and I am sure that many of you have a few New Year's resolutions. Me personally, I stopped trying to make them good several years ago, but I think that many people try to be a bit better than the last year, especially in their personal lives or they are trying to keep themselves as healthy as possible.

Resolutions like stop smoking, eating healthier food, start jogging probably belongs to the most popular ones, but have you ever thought about why people make these resolutions and what is their origin?

Everything started in ancient Babylon, of course. Babylonians were the first people to make New Year's resolution, some 4.000 years ago. They apparently also were the first to celebrate the New Year although for them the year started in mid-March when the crops were planted and (possibly better weather for celebration). Lucky for them, they celebrated the New Year for 12 (!!!) days, they also crowned a new king or promised their loyalty to the reigning king. They also made promises to the gods to pay their debts. Obviously, if they kept their promises they were in favor of Gods. If they didn't keep the promises, they ended up in a situation that probably nobody would like to experience as their Gods didn't like them anymore. These promises could be considered the forerunners of our New Year's resolutions.

Then there were the Romans, who couldn't miss any opportunity for celebration and after the reform-minded emperor Juliu Caesar tinkered with the calendar and established January 1 as the beginning of the new year (approximately 46 B.C.). Named for Janus, the two-faced god, January had special significance for the Romans. Believing that Janus symbolically looked backward into the previous year and ahead into the future, the Romans offered sacrifices to the deity and made promises of good conduct for the coming year.

For early Christians, the first day of the new year became the traditional occasion for thinking about one’s past mistakes and resolving to do and be better in the future.

Despite the tradition’s religious roots, New Year’s resolutions today are a mostly secular practice. Instead of making promises to the gods, most people make resolutions only to themselves and focus purely on self-improvement (which may explain why such resolutions seem so hard to follow through on).

According to the statistic, almost 63% of those who make New Year's resolution fail and actually today is the official quitter's day, the day when most people are likely to give up on their New Year's resolutions, a study has shown. Apparently, Friday 12th of January is the day when your motivation might begin to fail.

We all hope that you will manage to keep your resolutions through your whole year, will be healthier, fitter and possibly stop smoking as well!

We wish you all the best in year 2018!

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About Peartree Languages

Peartree Languages is a language school located in Cardiff.


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