Which Ancient Civilization Celebrated New Year’s?

New Year’s is a holiday celebrated by cultures all over the world, but did you know that the concept of celebrating a new year dates back to ancient civilizations? Let’s take a look at which ancient civilization celebrated New Year’s.

The Mesopotamians

The Mesopotamians were one of the first civilizations to celebrate the beginning of a new year. Their new year celebration, called Akitu, was held in late March during the spring equinox.

The festival lasted for 11 days and was dedicated to the god Marduk. During this time, the Mesopotamians would make offerings to Marduk and other gods, as well as hold feasts and processions.

The Egyptians

The ancient Egyptians also celebrated New Year’s, but their celebration was linked to the annual flooding of the Nile river. The flooding typically occurred in late June or early July, which is when the Egyptians would celebrate their new year.

The festival lasted for 11 days and was known as Wepet Renpet. During this time, the Egyptians would make offerings to their gods and goddesses, as well as hold feasts and parties.

The Greeks

The ancient Greeks celebrated New Year’s on different dates depending on which city-state they belonged to. For example, Athens celebrated New Year’s in midwinter (around December or January) during a festival called Kronia. During this festival, slaves were allowed to participate in public celebrations alongside free citizens.

The Romans

The Roman calendar originally had only ten months and began on March 1st. However, around 713 BC they added two more months (January and February) to make it more aligned with lunar cycles.

January 1st became recognized as New Year’s Day during Julius Caesar’s reign in 45 BC when he reformed the Roman calendar. The Romans celebrated New Year’s with feasts, gift-giving, and public events.


In conclusion, the concept of celebrating a new year dates back to ancient civilizations such as the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. These cultures had different ways of celebrating and different dates for their New Year’s celebrations. Today, people all over the world continue to celebrate New Year’s in their own unique ways.