The meaning has changed for thousands of years. Where did New Year’s Day come from?

Beijing Daily Supplement | Author Zheng Xuefu
New Year’s Day is coming. Where does New Year’s Day come from? How did it enter people’s lives? New Year’s Day is called "three yuan" in ancient times, that is, the yuan of the year, the yuan of the month and the yuan of the time. It is also called Yuan Chun, Yuan Ri, Yuan Zheng, Yuan Chen and Yuan Shuo. For thousands of years, the meaning of New Year’s Day has changed several times.
Ancient New Year’s Day was the Lunar New Year.
New Year’s Day originated from the legend of Zhuan Xu, one of the three emperors and five emperors. In ancient times, there were four New Year’s days, namely, the first day of October, the first day of November, the first day of December and the first day of January.
The earliest calendars in China are the six ancient calendars of Huangdi, Zhuan Xu, Xia, Yin, Zhou and Lu, which are collectively called "Ancient Six Calendars". According to the calendar method, the twelve months of a year are Zi, Ugly, Yin, Mao, Chen, Si, Wu, Wei, Shen, You, Xu and Hai. The first month of each year is January, and the first day of each month is the first day. Before Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, the first month of each dynasty was different. Huangdi calendar, Zhou calendar and Lu calendar all take Zi Yue as the first month, which is called Jian Zi Yue, which is now November of the lunar calendar, and the first day of November is New Year’s Day. Meng Chun was the first month in the Xia Dynasty, and New Year’s Day in the Xia Dynasty was the first day of the first lunar month. The Shang Dynasty used the Yin calendar, the first month of which was December of the lunar calendar, and the first day of December was New Year’s Day.
During the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, the Emperor of Zhou was weak and weak, competing for hegemony, and the vassal States went their own way, no longer pursuing the exact date of the Zhou Dynasty, so the time of New Year’s Day was different. After Qin Shihuang unified the world, he also unified the calendar and promoted the Zhuan Xu calendar, with October as the first month and the first day of October as New Year’s Day.
After the establishment of the Han Dynasty, Emperor Gaozu followed the Qin calendar, but with the development of agricultural production, it became more and more uncomfortable with the common spring, summer, autumn and winter. In 104 BC, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty promulgated and implemented the taichu calendar, and changed this year to the first year of Tai Chu, officially confirming the first day of the first month in the summer calendar as New Year’s Day. In the following two thousand years, although several emperors have changed the calendar to the beginning of the year (such as Wang Mang’s stipulation that the first day of December is the beginning of the year), the summer calendar has been used as a whole. Therefore, the lunar calendar we are using now is also called the "summer calendar".
New Year’s Day in ancient times was not the present New Year’s Day, but the Lunar New Year. Wu Zimu’s "Dream Liang Lu" said: "The first month of the first month is called New Year’s Day, and the custom is called New Year’s Day. One-year-old festival, this is the first. " On New Year’s Day, the emperor will hold a grand ceremony to celebrate the new year and offer sacrifices to his ancestors and gods. The emperor will lead a group of princes and ministers to celebrate the Empress Dowager Palace to express his filial piety and blessings. And the courtiers should also pay homage to the emperor to congratulate New Year’s Day.
In the Qin Dynasty, officials had a "leave" system on New Year’s Day, in the Han Dynasty, there was a "rest" system, and in the Tang Dynasty, officials had a seven-day holiday on New Year’s Day, which became a legal system. Folk customs such as setting off firecrackers, hanging peach symbols, worshipping gods and ancestors, praying for evil spirits, reuniting relatives and giving gifts to celebrate the New Year have been formed. In the Song Dynasty, people were allowed to entertain freely on New Year’s Day, and gambling was banned for three days. "Tokyo Dream of China Record" said: "Scholars have been celebrating each other since early. Fang Xiang uses food, animals, fruits, firewood and the like, and the song is called Guanpu. For example, Maxing Street, Panlou Street, outside Dongsongmen, outside Xiliangmen, outside Fengqiu Gate in the north of the state, and in the south of the state, all of them are covered with colored sheds, with combs, pearls, heads, clothes, flowers, boots and shoes, and playing well. There are dance halls and song halls, and cars and horses meet each other. "
During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, New Year’s Day in Beijing was even more lively. "Yanjing Years Old" describes: "Jingshi calls New Year’s Day the first day of the New Year’s Day. On the first day of each session, after the beginning of the child, incense and firecrackers are burned to pay tribute, and even the alleys are endless. "
Debate between "New Year’s Day" and "Spring Festival"
In 1911, the Revolution of 1911 overthrew the Qing government and ended the feudal monarchy for more than two thousand years. On January 1, the following year, Sun Yat-sen was sworn in as interim president, and the government of the Republic of China was established. On January 2nd, Dr. Sun Yat-sen issued "The Temporary President changed the calendar to switch to the yuan to switch on electricity": "Provincial governors: The Republic of China changed to the solar calendar, with November 13th, the year of the Yellow Emperor, as the New Year’s Day of the first year of the Republic of China. It was decided by the provincial delegations and promulgated by this president. " On January l3, the Interim President issued the Decree on Promulgating the Almanac, ordering the Ministry of Internal Affairs to compile a new almanac. The government stipulates that from January 1 to 3, military and political departments, judicial organs, schools and local governments will have a three-day holiday.
Around the New Year in 1924
On January 1, 1913, when the first New Year’s Day came, the governments at all levels in the Republic of China held a celebration, and the party and government officials gathered to sum up the work in the past year and look forward to the prospect of the new year. Major primary and secondary schools have carefully prepared the New Year’s Day entertainment several days in advance, with rich programs and enthusiastic participation of teachers, students and government employees.
At that time, China was in a fragmented warlord regime, the ruling power of the government of the Republic of China was very limited, and the traditional customs were deeply rooted, so it was impossible to abolish them by a telegram. The people went their own way, and it was not until the twelfth lunar month that they began to have a "busy year" and had a taste of the year. In July of this year, in view of the phenomenon that the Lunar New Year was "repeatedly forbidden" among the people, Zhu Qiqian, the chief interior officer of Beiyang Government, submitted a report on the four seasons holiday to President Yuan Shikai, and put forward an application for "designating Lunar New Year’s Day as the Spring Festival" and allowed a day off. Yuan Shikai agreed to this request and implemented it in 1914. So the "New Year’s Day", which has been passed down for thousands of years, was officially renamed as "Spring Festival". Since then, there have been two New Years in China. At that time, New Year’s Day was called "New Year of the Republic of China" and Spring Festival was called "National New Year". After a period of time, the official just finished the "Gregorian Year", and the people ushered in the "Lunar Year", and the government and the people lived their own years.
On January 26th, 1914, China ushered in the first Spring Festival in history. People celebrated the New Year in accordance with traditional customs, and the atmosphere was particularly lively. At that time, the newspaper reported: "Every firecracker, every household, and all shopping malls, big and small, were closed for a few days, bustling, celebrating each other when they met people, and all said auspicious stories." Even Emperor Xuantong, who had abdicated, rose to the temple to be congratulated, and Yuan Shikai and Li Yuanhong also sent representatives to pay their respects.
In 1927, the National Government made Nanjing its capital. In May of the following year, Minister of the Interior Xue Dubi drafted "Eight Measures for Popularizing the National Calendar", which designated the solar calendar as "the national calendar" and the lunar calendar as "the abolition of the calendar". "For the festivals of the old calendar, no holidays are allowed." On December 8, the Executive Committee of the Kuomintang Central Committee ordered party departments and mass organizations at all levels to abolish the old calendar, and prohibited all folk activities such as posting Spring Festival couplets and setting off fireworks and firecrackers. It also prohibited shops from closing, not only severely punishing school leaders who had a holiday in the old calendar, but also punishing businessmen who closed their doors and went home for the New Year. Before the Spring Festival in 1929, the Shandong provincial government even issued a general order to "ban the Spring Festival".
Around the New Year in 1924
On the eve of New Year’s Day in 1930, the Kuomintang Central Party Department printed 8,000 copies of Spring Festival couplets and distributed them to the public for posting, and announced that "all entertainment places in the city are half price" to encourage people to celebrate New Year’s Day. In December of that year, the Executive Yuan of the National Government informed the national organs to have a five-day holiday on New Year’s Day. In 1933, the national government also ordered all walks of life to change the New Year’s Day holiday to three days. Since then, a three-day holiday on New Year’s Day has become a practice and system. In 1934, the government stopped the compulsory abolition of the lunar calendar, demanding that "folk customs should not interfere too much with the old calendar, except for public offices."
The first New Year’s Day in New China
On September 27th, 1949, the first plenary session of the China People’s Political Consultative Conference decided that People’s Republic of China (PRC) would adopt the method of AD chronology. In order to distinguish the two New Year’s days, and considering that the "beginning of spring" in the 24 solar terms of the lunar calendar is just around the lunar new year, the first day of January in the lunar calendar is called "Spring Festival" and the first day of January in the solar calendar is designated as "New Year’s Day". On December 23, the State Council passed the "Measures for Holidays on National New Year’s Day and Memorial Day", stipulating that there will be one holiday on New Year’s Day and three holidays on Spring Festival. New Year’s Day is listed as a statutory holiday and has become a national holiday.
January 1st, 1950 is the first New Year’s Day in New China. On December 31, 1949, People’s Daily reported that all parts of the country were actively preparing for cultural and entertainment activities in the New Year. On January 2, 1950, all walks of life in the capital would hold a people’s party in the whole city, and the Beijing opera industry would hold a New Year performance week, and more than 20 theaters and tea houses in the city would stage new programs. Tianjin Federation of Trade Unions and literary and art circles will hold a military-civilian get-together, a painting and calligraphy exhibition, a concert and a new drama in the New Year. The Shanghai Military Management Committee has informed all organs and organizations to hold get-togethers on New Year holidays to celebrate the victory and publicize the new tasks in 1950. Various organs, organizations and schools in Guangzhou will hold a whole-city mass worship in the New Year. The report said: "People all over the country celebrated the great victory in 1949 and welcomed the arrival of 1950 with great joy and firm determination to overcome all difficulties."
On the evening of December 31st, 1949, various democratic parties in China held a grand get-together in Huairentang, Zhongnanhai. With the coming of the New Year, people hold colorful celebrations such as New Year parties, group meetings, singing competitions, lectures, sports competitions and exhibitions with excitement. On January 3, 1950, Progress Daily reported on the topic "Celebrating the New Year in Beijing and Tianjin": "Since New Year’s Day, Beijing people, men, women and children have been celebrating the victory of the New Year, and red flags and red lights have been hung in the streets. All theaters are also full of people, especially those places where new films such as michurin and Chinese Sons and Sons are shown and new operas such as Nine Clothes and The Red Lady are sung. The audience is unprecedentedly crowded, mostly working people and housewives. People who visit the Forbidden City, the ancestral temple and the history museum are in an endless stream from morning till night. " "More than 1 million citizens in Tianjin celebrated the victory of the New Year. It snows on New Year’s Eve and clears up on New Year’s Day afternoon. All government offices, factories, shops and entertainment places are decorated with lanterns, with national flags hanging high, and a dazzling red light is full of joy. Firecrackers are ringing from morning till dusk, and they can be heard intermittently after midnight. "
A unified start, Vientiane update.
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