The Beginning of New Year’s Resolutions (Freya Edwards, Christ’s Hospital)

In the period leading up to the new year, it is common to look back and reflect on the current year. Many people decide what they did right last year, remember the highlights of it – maybe a birthday or a vacation – and then look at what they want to do better in the new year. This is a common occurrence – the prospect of a clean slate seems promising to many people – but where does it come from?

It is believed that the first New Year’s resolutions came from the ancient Babylonians around 4000 years ago. Her year began her agricultural cycle in mid-March when seeds were planted to be harvested a few months later. At this time of year, they offered their gods promises regarding themselves and their behavior that could be considered the original New Year’s resolutions. Typical resolutions were to get out of debt – either by paying back money owed or by returning things that did not belong to them.

Much like the more familiar Greek or Roman gods, the Babylonian deities shared power and responsibility over the various aspects of human life and could be influenced by human worship. The ancient Babylonians believed that if they kept their promises made at the beginning of the new year, they would be rewarded by their gods throughout the year – and vice versa. They faced penalties if they failed to keep the promises made earlier this year. The Beginning of New Year’s Resolutions (Freya Edwards, Christ’s Hospital)

Fry Electronics Team

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