New Year's Day 2020

New Year's Folklore, Facts, Traditions, and More!

March 7, 2019
New Year Celebrations

New Year’s Day is celebrated on January 1, marking the start of the year in the Gregorian calendar.  Learn about the many ways people around the world ring in the New Year. Maybe you’ll discover some new ideas!

New Year’s Dates

Ready to celebrate New Year’s 2020? New Year’s Eve falls on Tuesday, January 31, 2019, and New Year’s Day falls on Wednesday, January 1, 2020. 

Year New Year’s Day
2020 Wednesday, January 1
2021 Friday, January 1
2022 Saturday, January 1

January 1 is a public holiday in the United States and Canada (as well as many countries around the world).

Interestingly, the month of “January” was named for the ancient Roman god Janus, the two-faced god of beginnings. Janus looks simultaneously to the future and the past, a fitting symbol for this first day of the year. Each year, on the first day of the month of January, Romans exchanged presents in Janus’ honor. 

Janus am I; oldest of potentates;
Forward I look, and backward, and below
I count, as god of avenues and gates,
The years that through my portals come and go.

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet (1807–82)


New Year’s Traditions

A common tradition is to take time to reflect and make New Year’s resolutions. A fresh calendar encourages us to fill in the blanks with ambitious projects for home and personal improvement. Turn your face to the future with a few tips on how to make good New Year’s resolutions.

In Scotland, the custom of first-footing is an important part of the celebration of Hogmanay, or New Year’s Eve Day. This practice holds that the first foot to cross a threshold after midnight will predict the next year’s fortune. Today, there is a custom of visiting good friends and family after midnight on New Year’s Eve. See more New Year Traditions Around the World.

There are even some traditional New Year’s foods—many associated with good luck. One southern American recipe is Good Luck Hoppin’ John. A Scottish tradition is Hogmanay Shortbread.

Champagne and other holiday drink recipes are also served in celebration.

Credit: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

New Year’s Eve

The evening before New Year’s Day—New Year’s Eve—is when most people celebrate the turning of the year! As the clock counts down, people may celebrate the last hours at a party or watch a televised countdown. When the clock strikes midnight, the custom is to exchange hugs and kisses and wish each other a “Happy New Year!”

Many people ring in the New Year by singing the Scottish song “Auld Lang Syne.” Robert Burns is credited with the two original stanzas, which most New Year revelers know (if that!):

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus.-For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne

New Year’s Quotes

To help you ring in the New Year or write a special New Year’s greeting, we present some more verse from our archives.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

–Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-92)

Each age has deemed the new-born year
The fittest time for festal cheer.

–Sir Walter Scott

I hear you, blithe new year,
Ring out your laughter.

–Abba Goold Woolson

Hark! The Old Year is gone!
And the young New Year is coming!

–Bryan Waller Procter

Just listen to the merry New Year’s bells!
All hearts rejoice and catch the cheerful tone.

M. A. Baines


Happy New Year to all of our Almanac readers! We hope your new year is “useful, with a pleasant degree of humor.”


Reader Comments

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When Dose the New Year Start

I have always felt that the logical date for New Year's Day should be the day after the winter solstice. After all, that is the day that the days start getting longer and everything starts over.