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My favorite New Year to observe:

Displaying poll results.
Conventional Gregorian (Jan. 1)
  9953 votes / 70%
Chinese, Jewish, or other lunar-based date
  1227 votes / 8%
Hindu or other solar-based date
  487 votes / 3%
  206 votes / 1%
  1346 votes / 9%
Some other variety, explained in comments
  867 votes / 6%
14086 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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My favorite New Year to observe:

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  • by GreenTech11 (1471589) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @07:54AM (#38501836)
    I'm betraying my ignorance here, but isn't the Gregorian Calendar solar based as well? I mean, pick any arbitrary point on the Earth's orbit, and jot down whenever the Earth passes it again (give or take a few hours), that seems solar based to me. In order to have a solar-based year in the same way as a lunar based year, each one would be around 226 million years...
    • by F69631 (2421974) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @08:09AM (#38501920)

      It most certainly is a solar calendar []. Then some trivia for the sake of trivia...

      The dominant method that the Romans used to identify a year for dating purposes was to name it after the two consuls who took office in it. Since 153 BC, they had taken office on 1 January, and Julius Caesar did not change the beginning of the year.

      Good ol' Wikipedia []

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's a Lunar calendar with leap months thrown in to keep it roughly aligned with Solar cycles.

      The Gregorian Calendar, on the other hand, is solar based.

    • Astronomical new year -- I like the vernal equinox. Happy rockin' Nowruz, my Zoroastrian pals!
      • by arth1 (260657)

        How about a mix between the solar and lunar calendars? Like "the first new moon on or after the halfway point between fall equinox and winter solstice"?

        That used to be the Celtic/Gaulish new year, but New Age pagans seem to have embraced the Gregorian calendar instead and celebrate All Hallows' as new year instead of the start of the lunar month of Samonios (which is the base of the word they use, Samhain).

    • I've decided to base my new calendar off of a successful rotation of the Milky Way.

      • by Fluffeh (1273756)

        Interesting, but how would you be able to pick your location from one rotation to the next? I am assuming that you mean the earth rotating around the center of the galaxy. Given that the only reference points you would be able to use are external galaxies (as internal stars rotate as well), and those move substancially in the time that the earth would complete an orbit it would seem somewhat impossible to mark the exact rotational period.

    • The Gregorian calendar is based on the angle between the tilt of the Earth and the line intersecting the Earth and Sun. Ie, it is based on the annual seasonal cycle, regardless of the change in the angle of Earth's tilt versus the stars (precession).

      A year based on an arbitrary line between Sun/Earth and a background star, and ignoring the Earth's tilt, is the Sidereal Year. Which is a slightly longer than the Tropical Year.

      • Parent post should be awarded some points. It is the first time that the concept of the seasonal calendar has been brought up, and it correctly defines the Gregorian calendar as a seasonal calendar. (Extra points for identifying the sidereal calendar).

        A true solar calendar could be based on one of two principles: the intersection of the Earth's orbit with the plane of the Sun's equator; or the perihelion point, where the Earth is at its closest point to the Sun.

        Perihelion Day occurs between Jan 2 and Jan

  • Old New Year (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alphatel (1450715) * on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @08:00AM (#38501870)
    How can you neglect the Orthodox New Year [], perhaps the most celebrated in all former and current Soviet countries, and also well-established by those same immigrants abroad?
    • by SleazyRidr (1563649) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @10:30AM (#38503064)

      Because the poll clearly specifies my favourite new year to observe. In Soviet Russia, you don't observe the new year, the new year observes you!

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        In Soviet Russia, you could get sent to a Gulag for openly celebrating a religious holiday.

        Russian new year was an attempt to co-opt Xmas and secularize it. So Russian new year was/is a combination of Western New Years and Xmas.

        So, Soviet New Year might be a good choice to put on the poll.

        My personal favorite is probably Celtic New Year, or what it has morphed into: Halloween.

        You can't keep a good Pagan festival down. Same goes for Xmas too actually.

        • by Cosgrach (1737088)

          Celtic New Year all the way, baby!

        • by HiThere (15173)

          And Christmas is a co-option of Saturnalia.

          FWIW, "Shepherds graze their flocks by night" when it's reasonably warm at night, i.e. during the summer. If there ever was a historic Jesus, then the current evidence indicates he was born between April and November (modern dating).

          • Re:Old New Year (Score:5, Interesting)

            by SpinyNorman (33776) on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @03:05AM (#38512688)

            Not quite... Saturnalia was a separate holiday celebrating Saturn that grew to be a week long celebration ("the best holiday") starting on December 17th. Saturnalia did have a tradition of present giving that may have been carried over to "Christmas", as possibly was the extended and raucus nature of celebration.

            What Christmas actually co-opted, or attempted to, was the December 25th holiday of Natalis Invictus - the celebration of the (re)birth of the Sun god Sol Invictus, founded by emperor Aurelian c.270AD. Although dedicated to Sol Invictus, Natalis Invictus was essentially a winter solstice celebration since Dec 25th was at the time the shortest day after which the Sun was reborn (days begin to get longer again).

            When the Roman Catholic church was later unable to convince people to stop celebrating Natalis Invictus (and more generally the cult of Sol Invictus) they crudely tried to co-opt the date by restyling it as the birth of Christ rather than the birth of the Sun.

            The other holiday that got combined into "Christmas" was the northern European winter solstice celebration of "Yule" from whence we get Yule logs and I believe most of the tree/holly/mistletoe Christmas greenery.

            It's hard to say that the Christian/Catholic co-option of Natalis Invictus/Solstice/Yule was very successful as the major pagan elements of the holiday - date, tree, greenery, roaring fire, presents and feasting are all still intact, and for most people the holiday serves as a seasonal/solstice end of year celebration as much as a Christian one. Even the Angel some folk like to stick on the "Christmas tree" has it's pagan origin as the winged victory goddess Nike (also of sports shoe fame!).

            • by HiThere (15173)

              The Mithraic celebration also co-opted an older holiday, though I think it was Persian rather than Roman. (They all tend to work this way, in layers.)

              As for Saturnalia being a week long, ever hear of "The 12 days of Christmas"? Part of the reason for that is that the Solstice is hard to pin down exactly with a primitive observation tool, and communications were slow. Still, they *could* have pinned it down closer if they'd wanted to. OTOH, Saturnalia was the end of the year, so in a way it's more New Ye

              • The cult of Sol Invictus and Roman Mithraism were not the same thing, notwithstanding that there may have been some relationship between the two that we've yet to fathom. Mithras may have been associated with the cosmos as a whole, as opposed to Sol Invictus who was specifically a sun god. Sol (maybe Sol Invictus) appears in some Mithraic paintings alongside Mithras, so they were certainly not one and the same.

                The celebration of solstices, part of the cycles of the natural world is near universal in ancient

            • Certainly gives an interesting spin to the Pope's call for people to "rediscover the real meaning of Christmas". Ummm, okay Your Holiness, but you may not like the result...

          • Best analysis I ever saw put it at Tishri 15, 3757 - but of course being a Hebrew calendar, the actual date conversion would cause the celebration to move with respect to the Gregorian calendar most of us apparently use.
        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          Russian new year was an attempt to co-opt Xmas and secularize it.

          Another good example of how capitalism triumphed where communism failed.

    • by mapkinase (958129)

      There are more people celebrating gregorian than orthodox, and among the latter vast majority celebrates gregorian as well, using orghodox new year only as a pretext to party.

      • There are lots of New Years dates around the world . . .
        6 in January
        11 in March
        17 in April
        1 in June
        7 in Autumn
        1 that can be anytime []
        • by Creepy (93888)

          Since the Julian calendar would be about 16 days off by now, you can throw in Jan 16 or so (11 1/2 minutes long since 46 BC is about 23667 minutes off in 2012, /60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day = 16.4 days. Call that Roman New Year ;)

  • Don't be crazy: new year is January 1st.
    • The whole point is that there are other definitions. Looking at poll results so far (605 votes) the vast majority agree with you, but there are other countries/cultures/... that define it differently. Go & find out about some different cultures -- it will teach you things and is fun!

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      I don't use the Jewish calendar, but I prefer Rosh Hashanah to the mainstream custom of getting drunk and watching a ball slowly descend down a pole. The first half I can do whenever I want, and the second half I would never do if it weren't some bizarre tradition.

  • I dig a lunar new year, something that tramples around and keeps you on your toes. I try to observe as many New Years as I can, within the traditional calendar year. Lets not forget new School Year, and July and October bring us popular Fiscal New Years!
    • by jd (1658)

      If you celebrate enough New Year festivals (and allow for the probability that some were never documented), you can extend the celebrations year-round.

  • by lord_rob the only on (859100) <> on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @08:25AM (#38502036)

    CowboyNeal Calendar

  • I guess I am a not convinced converted.
  • Birthday... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sique (173459) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @09:20AM (#38502386) Homepage

    The real new year for me... as in "I completed another full year of my life, and a new year starts today".

  • by Alain Williams (2972) <> on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @09:25AM (#38502424) Homepage

    many do not observe a New Year at all, at the time they are too drunk to notice anything! :-)

  • Solstice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bidule (173941) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @10:15AM (#38502900) Homepage

    Winter solstice, you insensitive clod!

  • The tax year (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dark$ide (732508) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @10:15AM (#38502904) Journal
    Ends on April 5th, starts on April 6th and always reminds me exactly how much the UK Gov't is going to screw me.
  • by deepthoughtless (1264016) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @10:17AM (#38502920)
    ...I'm not about this grouping of New Years by culture or religion. I only value my personal, individual New Year, my birthday!
  • 1st of March seems more or less logical. December (deci-) being month 10 (and Oktober (oct-) being month 8)

  • by Eevee (535658) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @11:29AM (#38503690)

    Chinese, Jewish, or other lunar-based date

    Except the Chinese calendar is lunisolar [], that is, there is both a lunar and solar component. The Chinese calendar throws in leap years to keep in sync with the seasons. Islam, on the other hand, uses a (mostly) lunar calendar so the dates of events such as Ramadan drift compared to the seasons.

  • New Years regained by drinking from the Mayan Fountain of Youth taste better and last longer than normal years. Although, you might want to try them while they are still around. Some grizzled old Conquistador at the end of the bar claims that the Mayan Fountain will be going out of business in 2012.

    But he's probably been swilling the stuff for too long now, so what does he know . . .

  • by mpp (18866) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @12:44PM (#38504572)

    What better symbolism of a new year, a new beginning, than the longest night of the year, followed by new days that become slightly longer than the day before? The pagans really had it right.

  • I prefer to time in the number of peta-seconds elapsed since the big bang.
  • I don't need a special occasion to get drunk and make a fool of myself. I can do that any day or night I please!
  • I don't celebrate the New Year because (1) I don't need an excuse to party/drink and (2) there's nothing so particularly special about incrementing the digit on a calendar that it requires a huge celebration. I'll celebrate a birthday because that's a personal expression of regard for someone you know and care about, but the New Year is highly impersonal.

    Love the fireworks, though. We need more excuses to

  • There is a big Mayan New Year coming up, this one marking the beginning of a new Major Cycle. (Contrary to popular belief, the Mayan calendar recycles... the end of the calendar does not mark the "end of the world" any more than the end of the standard 2011 Gregorian calendar does.)

    Of course, that's assuming that the dates have been calculated correctly. One professor recently claimed that the actual date of the end of the calendar isn't for another 20 or 30 years.
  • The traditional New Year has always baffled me as a big celebration. It's more arbitrary than Christmas. It would make at least some sense if it was a week and a half earlier to be on the solstice.

    It used to be the day marked only by the turning point where I would start dating checks wrong, but when was the last time I wrote a check?

    Birthdays are a little more meaningful as a New Year, though I don't get to celebrate it with everyone else. FY is pretty important as well, but again, Fiscal New Year is diff

  • by howlingfrog (211151) <ajmkenyon2002 AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @04:37PM (#38507442) Homepage Journal

    In most of Europe, the new year once began on April 1, at the beginning of spring--a time of rebirth and renewal. But as Christianity took over the continent, the Church decreed that it should be January 1, right after Christmas. The last few holdouts to continue celebrating in the spring were derided as April Fools, and it became fashionable to play pranks on them. This is the origin of April Fools Day.

    Like everyone else in the world, I date.year++ on January 1, but don't do much in the way of celebrating--generally I watch football all day. But on April 1, I go around wishing everybody a happy new year and telling the April Fools story.

    Disclaimer: I haven't done the research to be 100% sure the story is true, but all the elements make sense. Wikipedia mentions it but seems doubtful.

    • In most of Europe, the new year once began on April 1, at the beginning of spring--a time of rebirth and renewal. But as Christianity took over the continent, the Church decreed that it should be January 1, right after Christmas. The last few holdouts to continue celebrating in the spring were derided as April Fools, and it became fashionable to play pranks on them. This is the origin of April Fools Day.

      Might want to check April Fools Day on Wikipedia. It seems to disagree with your theory stated above.

      • As I said,

        Disclaimer: I haven't done the research to be 100% sure the story is true, but all the elements make sense. Wikipedia mentions it but seems doubtful.

        Please finish reading my post before arguing with it.

  • by srobert (4099)

    My Plan for New Year's Eve is to get drunk and drive around yelling at people to get the hell out of the way.

    • Interesting. I expect it will be more like you asking for your lawyer from a barred room, but whatever. Have fun.

  • Discordian.

  • The Mayans had it right, you insensitive clod!
  • ... is the equinox. And to be fair to north and south hemisphere, both equinoxes are counted. So that means years average around 182.62125 days long. Some years are cold, and some are warm. But hey, we can live to well past 100.

  • if I knew what they meant...
  • Hello,

    Well I'm English but my girlfriend is Chinese so I celebrate the standard Gregorian solar new year and the Chinese lunar new year. I see no point missing an opportunity to have two parties. The Chinese lunar new year period lasts around 2 weeks and there are different celebrations for each day so that does tends to be better then a single night party that fades out soon after midnight.


  • No New Year's celebration is better than the giant wet t-shirt contest in Thailand known as Songkran.

  • I celebrate every time we make it around the galaxy. The first celebration was when I was born, and I hope to live until the next one.
  • It's the only one that makes sense.

  • I consider September first to be the beginning of the year -- summer's lazy days are over, and now it's cooler and time to buckle down and get back to work.

    That's not to day I don't enjoy the official New Year's Day when we start a new year, but it's a week after Christmas; some people are still celebrating that holiday by eating, drinking, vacationing, doing mad purchasing and so forth. From a weather point of view (in Toronto, anyway), December 31 still pretty much feels like January 1.

  • My birthday. It is obviously the best form of annual celebration.
  • Of which you speak? It is intriguing. Are there many?

  • If it is welcomed with alcohol and/or food, I will celebrate it!
  • Oct 1st, when the DoD has new funds to release to defense contractors like my employer.

There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX. We don't believe this to be a coincidence. -- Jeremy S. Anderson


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