The History of New Year’s Resolutions

Jasi Rankin, Senior Editor

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New Year’s Resolutions, the subject of many memes and jokes we have certainly all seen in the past couple weeks, have been around for thousands of years.  Today, we know of the resolutions as just simple lifestyle changes- however, many ancient civilizations held the same idea thousands of years ago.

Around 4,000 years ago, the ancient Babylonians were the first recorded people to have New Year’s Resolutions. Many days of celebration and personal promises to the gods preceded the new year- and many historians believe that these celebrations were the beginnings of New Year’s Resolutions.

A more familiar celebration was practiced among early Christians. New Year’s Day was used to reflect on their past mistakes and resolve them for the future; also, a special New Year’s church service was established in 1740, where scriptures were read and hymns were sung.

Even though New Year’s began as a spiritual holiday, it is now seen as totally secular. Many promise self improvement to themselves only, while ancient people used the holiday as getting right in the eyes of the God(s) they believed in. It is safe to say that for hundreds of years to come, New Year’s Resolutions will be here to stay- as they were some 4,000 years ago.