New Year: Should Christians Celebrate It?

God didn’t begin His year in the dead of winter. So what does He think of the celebration of New Year’s Eve based on the Romans’ calendar and customs?

Are New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebrations that God approves of? Since God set the first month of the year on the sacred calendar to begin in what we call March or April, obviously it is not God’s new year (Exodus 12:2; Deuteronomy 16:1). And God didn’t command a celebration for that day either.

The origin of New Year

So what is the origin of New Year? “In early times, the ancient Romans gave each other New Year’s gifts of branches from sacred trees. In later years, they gave gold-covered nuts or coins imprinted with pictures of Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings. January was named after Janus, who had two faces—one looking forward and the other looking backward. The Romans also brought gifts to the emperor. The emperors eventually began to demand such gifts. But the Christian church outlawed this custom and certain other pagan New Year’s practices in A.D. 567” (The World Book Encyclopedia, 1990, article “New Year’s Day”).

Not pleasing to God

Today, too often New Year’s Eve is treated as an excuse for drinking too much and lowering moral standards. It is one of the most dangerous times of the year for drunk driving, and every year warnings are given about those who fire guns into the air in celebration—an act that too often turns deadly.

For all these reasons, celebrating the pagan holiday of New Year is not pleasing to God.

You can learn more in the section “Holy Days vs. Holidays.”

About the Author

Mike Bennett

Mike Bennett

Mike Bennett is editorial content manager for the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, in the Dallas, Texas, area. He coordinates the Life, Hope & Truth website, Discern magazine, the Daily Bible Verse Blog and the Life, Hope & Truth Weekly Newsletter (including World Watch Weekly). He is also part of the Personal Correspondence team of ministers who have the privilege of answering questions sent to Life, Hope & Truth.

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