In 46 B.C., Julius Caeser declared that January 1st would be the first day of the year, partially to line up the calendar with the sun and partially to honor Janus, the God of Beginnings. The Romans celebrated the New Year by making offerings to Janus, exchanging gifts, and noting the holiday as a time of celebration and honor. This was the first time that the New Year was formally celebrated.
Now, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day continue to be celebrated around the world. In Spain, individuals eat 12 grapes at midnight, one for each day of the month, for good luck. Those in Germany celebrate by eating doughnuts called Krapfen. In Brazil, people toss flowers into the ocean as an offering to the Sea Goddess and in Demark, plates are smashed to bring good luck. In the United States, loved ones may share a kiss based on the thought that the first person you see in the New Year will suggest how the rest of the year will go.