The current year is A.D. 2008. If the time before Christ was B.C., why is January 1 the start of the new year? Shouldn’t the new year start on Easter? What year was it between B.C. and A.D.?
A.D. stands for anno Domini, which is Latin for in the year of the Lord (in other words, after Jesus was born). There isn’t any time between B.C. and A.D. The Christian church decided when to designate A.D. in the sixth century. Easter is when Jesus was crucified and died. Christmas is when he was born (33 years or so before the Easter event). It makes sense that the new calendar was based on when he was born. Since nobody can pinpoint exactly when Jesus was born (including what year), it’s not necessary to get too literal. At one time, the new year was celebrated in March to follow the agricultural year. Different cultures have different calendar years. For instance, the Chinese New Year moves in relation to our calendar — it often falls in February (but not always). The Hebrew calendar (which Jesus would have followed) has the biblical new year (Nissan 1) in the spring; the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah, on Tishri 1) occurs in the fall and is when the number of the year increases.