New Year's Day is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar used in ancient Rome. With most countries using the Gregorian calendar as their main calendar, New Year's Day is the closest thing to being the world's only truly global public holiday, often celebrated with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the New Year starts.
In 46 B.C.E. the Roman emperor Julius Caesar first established January 1 as New Year's Day. The month of January was named for their god, Janus, who is pictured with two heads. One looks forward, the other back, symbolizing a break between the old and new. Caesar felt that the month named after this god ("January") would be the appropriate "door" to the year.
The Greeks paraded a baby in a basket to represent the spirit of fertility. Christians adopted this symbol as the birth of the baby Jesus and continued what started as a pagan ritual. Today our New Year's symbols are a newborn baby starting the next year and an old man winding up the last year.
Celebrating New Year's Day is one of the oldest and most-exciting customs around the world. Many people mark New Year's Day as the first day to start a New Year's resolution for the year. New Year's Day parades are held in some places and some of these parades are televised. The start of New Year is usually marked by fireworks and music as the clock strikes midnight between New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
People greet and wish each other Happy New Year. Exchanging Messages, Greeting cards and Gifts are part of the New Year celebration.
New Year's Eve is a public holiday in many places around the world including in India, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are symbolized in various ways across the world. Midnight between New Year's Eve and New Year's Day is often marked by fireworks and fire crackers.