Ancient dating rituals

Janus was seen as symbolically looking back at the old and ahead to the new, and this idea became tied to the concept of transition from one year to the next.Romans would celebrate January 1 by giving offerings to Janus in the hope of gaining good fortune for the new year.Since Chinese New Year is still based on a lunar calendar that dates back to the second millennium BC, the holiday typically falls in late January or early February on the second new moon after the winter solstice.Each year is associated with one of 12 zodiacal animals: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.This day was seen as setting the stage for the next twelve months, and it was common for friends and neighbors to make a positive start to the year by exchanging well wishes and gifts of figs and honey with one another.According to the poet Ovid, most Romans also chose to work for at least part of New Year’s Day, as idleness was seen as a bad omen for the rest of the year.Ancient Egyptian culture was closely tied to the Nile River, and it appears their New Year corresponded with its annual flood.According the Roman writer Censorinus, the Egyptian New Year was predicted when Sirius—the brightest star in the night sky—first became visible after a 70-day absence.

If royal tears were shed, it was seen as a sign that Marduk was satisfied and had symbolically extended the king’s rule.One fascinating aspect of the Akitu involved a kind of ritual humiliation endured by the Babylonian king.This peculiar tradition saw the king brought before a statue of the god Marduk, stripped of his royal regalia and forced to swear that he had led the city with honor.For the Romans, the month of January carried a special significance.Its name was derived from the two-faced deity Janus, the god of change and beginnings.

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