WRIGHT WAY: Behind New Year’s Day
by WILLIAM WRIGHT
Dec 22, 2010 | 3379 views | 0 0 comments | 53 53 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The New Year celebration is considered the oldest holiday observance in history, dating back some 4,000 years to Babylon. It was also known as Akitu and it lasted 11 days. Each day had its own unique celebration.

The carnival atmosphere laced with laughter, food and drinks epitomized each new year celebration as the most vibrant occasion in all Mesopotamia, according to www.123newyear.com. Some form of a New Year’s celebration is performed around the world by people of all cultures.

In fact, it would be difficult to understand our days of the week and months of the year without considering the origin of New Year’s Day. Why is this true?

According to The World Book Encyclopedia, “The Roman ruler Julius Caesar established Jan. 1 as New Year’s Day in 46 B.C. The Romans dedicated this day to Janus, the god of gates, doors and beginnings. The month of January was named after Janus, who had two faces — one looking forward and the other looking backward.”

Although the Romans continued celebrating the new year into the first century, the early Christians condemned their festivities as paganism. Centuries later the church began having its own religious observances concurrently with many pagan celebrations, blending the two, including New Year’s Day.

Even in our day we find remnants of Roman and Babylonian worship concealed inside the names of many months and days of the week. Have you ever wondered where most calendar names originated?

While January was named after the Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings and endings, February is said to come from the Roman god Februus, the god of the dead and purification. March is named after Mars, the Roman god of war.

The month of May is thought to come from Maiesta, the Roman goddess of honor, while June was named after Juno, the goddess of married women.

July was named in honor of Julius Caesar. August was named after the Roman emperor, Augustus.

Sunday is named in honor of the Roman sun god, sol. Monday (or Moon day) was named in honor of the Roman moon goddess, Lunar. Tiw’s day or Tuesday was named after Tiw, a Norse god of war.

Woden’s day or Wednesday was named after Woden, the god of the wild hunt, also called Odin, the chief Norse god in paganism.

Thursday, or Thor’s day, was named after Odin’s son, Thor, the god of thunder.

Friday, or Frey’s day, was associated with Freya, the Norse goddess of love, beauty, fertility and destiny while Saturday, or Saturn’s day, honored Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture.

Isn’t it interesting that these weekdays and most of these months are still named in honor of ancient gods and goddesses or emperors that were worshiped? Even the planets in our solar system bear the names of these pagan gods.

Have you ever wondered how the true God feels about such matters? Wasn’t the first of the 10 commandments an expression of His feelings of similar matters when He said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” at Exodus 20:3?

Didn’t He describe Himself at Exodus 34:14 as “a jealous God?” At Isaiah 42:8, He said, “And my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”

One can only imagine how God must view such deified names floating into outer space, mentioned in some form or fashion every day of every month while His own Divine name is rarely uttered and even silenced.

No wonder when John saw a new heaven and a new earth recorded at Revelation 21:1, John records God as saying in Verse 5: “I make all things new.”

A day is coming in which everyone will know who the Most High over all the earth is, according to Psalm 83:16-18.

God’s promise at Isaiah 11:9 is that “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea.” — American Standard Version.

Why is this an interesting analogy? Well, is there any part of the sea not covered by waters? Aren’t the waters and the sea practically the same? Is that to say how saturated the earth will be with the knowledge of God?

Will it mean every part of our world, even our days and months, will reflect the glory of God and bring praise to Him instead of these false gods lingering in today’s culture? I wonder.

But I believe living in a world where every single day and every passing moment will bring praise to our God and Father because He deserves it, and not to any rival gods whose names are instilled in today’s calendars, will be a glorious time.

As Micah 4:5 said, “For all peoples walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of Jehovah our God for ever and ever.” — American Standard Version.

In God’s appointed time, all creation will reflect the glory of the One living and true God. Now, that will be a new day and a new year worth celebrating.

*For a copy of The Little White Book of Light featuring more Wright Way columns, visit barnesandnoble.com, booksamillion.com and amazon.com.