No. 23 – Why do we make New Year’s Resolutions?

Thursday, Jan 5th 2012


The answer is tradition and it goes all the way back to 153B.C. when Janus, a Roman god started the calendar year.

Janus was the god of beginnings and transitions and therefore, also the guardian of entrances and doorways. He was always depicted with two faces, one on the front of his head and one on the back so that he could look forwards and backwards at the same time.

On the last day of the year, the Romans imagined Janus looking back on the old year and forward to the new. It became a symbolic time to make promises for the new year and to forgive enemies for troubles in the old year. The Romans believed Janus could also forgive them for any ill doings committed in the past year and so they would offer gifts to each other (often olive branches from sacred trees or coins bearing the image of Janus himself), believing Janus would see this and give them good fortune in the year ahead.

May this New Year bring you luck, prosperity and very good health…and don’t feel too bad if you don’t manage to keep your resolutions.

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