Why Christians Don’t Celebrate NEW YEAR’S
What’s wrong with
celebrating the new year? What’s wrong with “ringing out the old and ringing in
the new”? After all, aren’t real Christians commanded to “walk in newness of
6:4), and isn’t that what New Year’s celebrations are all about? The
plain truth may surprise you!
January 1st, the stroke
of midnight: Phil and Julia party like there is no tomorrow, on a ballroom dance
floor crowded with men in tuxedoes and women in evening gowns.
Ralph, feeling happy and
warm, weaves through traffic, while drunk behind the wheel of a potential
killing machine, oblivious to the danger he presents to himself and to others.
Todd and Mara, strangers who have just met, exchange kisses while dancing to 120
beats per minute in a dark nightclub. Fred runs outside his house, points his
pistol into the air, and fires off a few rounds. Marta sits on a bench in a cold
cathedral and whispers the same prayer over and over again. Susan sits at home
watching television and envies the masses that crowd together at Times Square
and wishes she was there, anywhere, instead of home alone on New Year’s.
And yet there are a few
others scattered around the world who will not be out on New Year’s Eve. They
will not be partying on a ballroom dance floor, or drinking and driving, or
exchanging illicit kisses with strangers, or firing pistols into the air, or
sitting beside other professing Christians, praying by rote. And they will not
be sitting at home alone, wishing they were out and about with the rest of the
world, ringing in the new year. Instead, they will treat New Year’s like just
another ordinary day.
Because they are true
Christians—those who carefully hold fast to the exact same truths, teachings and
traditions which Jesus Christ taught His apostles to pass on to the New
Testament Church (Matt.
28:18-20). True Christians do not celebrate New Year’s. They do not
get caught up in its “eat-drink-and-be-merry-for-tomorrow-we-die” attitude. And
they do not crave to imitate those who do. Yet the vast majority of professing
Christians today see nothing wrong with observing New Year’s. They do not see
what the “big deal” is. Nor do they care.
What about you? Do you
want to know why true Christians—whose calling and goal is to imitate the
perfect, sin-free life of Jesus Christ—choose not to celebrate New Year’s or get
caught up in its excitement? If so, read on. You may be surprised to learn the
that most “Christian” church leaders refuse to teach.
A Brief History of New
The holy Bible clearly tells us when the New Year starts,
which is in the spring,
the same month that the Passover come:
Exodus12:2 "This month shall be the beginning of months for you;
it is to be the first month of the year to you."
record of a New Year’s festival dates from about 2000 BC in Mesopotamia, where
the New Year (Akiu) commenced with the new moon nearest the spring equinox
(mid-March; Babylonia) or nearest the autumn equinox (mid-September; Assyria)” (Encyclopedia
Britannica, 1998). “New Year’s Day, the first day of the year. Among
ancient peoples the beginning of the year was determined by one of various
events, such as the spring or autumnal equinox or the winter or summer solstice.
In Egypt, for example, beginning about 2773 BC, the year began with the heliacal
rising of Sirius, which coincided with the start of the flood period of the Nile
and came not long after the summer solstice” (Encyclopedia
Americana, 1999). The Ancient Egyptians, Phoenicians and Persians
began their new year with the autumn equinox (September 21), while the Greeks,
up until the 5th century BC, observed their new year with the winter solstice
peoples…performed rituals to do away with the past and purify themselves for the
new year. For example, some people put out fires they were using and started new
ones” (World Book, 2001). The
Celts celebrated the new year on November 1, marking the end of summer and the
harvest, and the beginning of the cold, dark winter ahead (this was a precursor
to Halloween). They built “sacred” bonfires to scare off evil spirits and to
honor their sun god.
In early times, the
ancient Romans gave each other New Year’s gifts of branches from sacred trees.
In later years, they gave gold-covered nuts or coins imprinted with pictures of
Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings. January was named after Janus,
who had two faces—one looking forward and the other looking backward” (World
“By the Roman republican
calendar the year began on March 1; after 153 BC the official date was January
1, and this was confirmed by the Julian calendar (46 BC)…In early medieval times
most of Christian Europe regarded March 25 (Annunciation Day) as the beginning
of the year, though for Anglo-Saxon England New Year’s Day was December 25” (Encyclopedia
Since the Roman Catholic
Church leaders falsely believed that Christ was born on December 25 (to learn
more, read our booklet The True Origin of
CHRISTMAS), they assumed His mother Mary conceived Him on March
25th, nine months earlier: “March 25th is called the Annunciation of the Blessed
Virgin Mary…It celebrates the occasion when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to
the young Jewish maiden and announced to her that she was to be the mother of
Jesus…Although the Church began very early to commemorate this event, the date
itself cannot have been fixed before the date of Christmas was established,
which was sometime late in the fourth century. The two dates are dependent on
each other, because they must normally have been nine months apart…Then,
reaching all the way back, people decided that this was not only the day on
which Christ’s earthly life began—it was the day everything began, the day of
Creation itself. From here it was a very short step—an almost unavoidable one—to
the idea that March 25th must be the beginning of the year, and from the twelfth
century until the calendar reform in 1752, March 25th was New Year’s day” (Days
and Customs of All Faiths, Howard V. Harper, 1957).
As you can plainly see,
the history of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day speaks for itself, how it
originated in the minds of men—pagan idol-worshippers—and how it slowly
developed over the centuries.
Now notice God’s view of
New Year’s, and any holiday that has its roots in pagan practices, customs and
traditions. You may be shocked by what He has to say.
God Hates All Pagan Customs
and Traditions—Including New Year’s
Let’s begin with
Jeremiah 10:2-3: “Learn not the way of
the heathen…for the customs of the people are vain.” That’s a Bible command.
Throughout His Word, God describes “heathen” as those who worship nature (the
sun, moon, stars, trees, etc.), or man-made idols, or
anything but the one true God. He
calls such people and their practices pagan. True Christians understand that God
hates any customs, practices and traditions that have pagan roots.
How serious is God about
paganism? When He rescued the twelve tribes of Israel from Egypt and led them
out of brutal slavery, He commanded them, “After the doings of the land of
Egypt, where in you dwelt, you shall not do: and after the doings of the land of
Canaan, where I bring you, shall you not do: neither shall you walk in their
18:3). God demanded the Israelites not defile themselves with the
practices and customs of the surrounding nations (vs.
24-29). “Therefore shall you keep My ordinance, that you commit not
any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that
you defile not yourselves therein: I am the Lord
your God” (vs.
God cursed Egypt with
ten plagues and freed Israel from slavery. He parted the Red Sea and led them to
safety. He fed them manna from heaven, protected them from battle-tested Gentile
armies, delivered them into the Promised Land, and drove out their enemies. How
did Israel treat God in turn? “Our fathers understood not Your wonders in Egypt;
they remembered not the multitude of Your mercies; but provoked Him at the sea,
even at the Red Sea…They soon forgot His works; they waited not for His counsel:
but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert…They
made a calf in Horeb, and worshiped the molten image. Thus they changed their
glory into the similitude of an ox that eats grass. They forgot God their
Savior, Which had done great things in Egypt; wondrous works in the land of Ham,
and terrible things by the Red Sea…they despised the pleasant land, they
believed not His word: but murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the
voice of the Lord…They joined themselves also
unto Baal-peor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead. Thus they provoked Him to
anger with their intentions” (Psa.
God had explicitly
commanded Israel to cast out and utterly destroy all nations that occupied the
Promised Land (Canaan). Above all, they were not to make political alliances
with them or marry into their families (Deut.
16). “For they will turn away your sons
from following Me, that they may serve other gods” (vs.
But the Israelites—who
thought they knew better than God—decided to do things their own way. “They did
not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord
commanded them: but were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works: and
they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yes, they sacrificed
their sons and their daughters unto devils. And shed innocent blood, even the
blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols
of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. Thus they were defiled with
their own works, and went whoring with their own inventions” (Psa.
To wake them up and get
them back on track to being the model nation He had originally intended, God
gave Israel over to their enemies. Israel repented. God rescued them. Then
Israel pursued other gods. God punished them again. Israel repented again. So
went the deliverance-idolatry-punishment-repentance cycle (vs.
40-46), until finally, God had no other choice but to “divorce”
unfaithful Israel (Jer.
3:6-11). He used the Assyrians to brutally invade, conquer, relocate
and enslave the northern kingdom of Israel (II
Kings 17), which “disappeared” into history, having forgotten their
true national identity (even today, the modern-day descendants of those ten
“lost” tribes do not understand who they are). Later, God sent the southern
kingdom of Judah into Babylonian exile (II
Kings 24 and
This happened because
they lusted after pagan customs, rituals, traditions and ways. As you can see,
the one true God does not take pagan practices lightly.
God Is NOT the Author of
True Christians know
that “God is not the author of confusion but of peace” (I
Cor. 14:33). The original Greek word used here for “confusion” also
means instability, disorder, commotion, tumult—words that perfectly describe New
Year’s chaotic history. For thousands of years, men kept changing the beginning
of their New Year from spring to fall, from March 1 to January 1 (and in some
cases, December 25), to March 25, back to January 1 again—the dead of winter!
“January 1 was restored as New Year’s Day by the Gregorian calendar (1582),
immediately adopted by Roman Catholic countries. Other countries slowly followed
suit: Scotland, 1660; Germany and Denmark, about 1700; England, 1752; Sweden,
1753; and Russia, 1918” (Encyclopedia
Even today, men cannot
agree on the same date. “Chinese New Year is celebrated officially for a month
beginning in late January or early February” (Ibid.). “The Muslim New Year falls
on the first day of the month of Muharram and commemorates the date of the
Hegira (July 26, 622 A.D., on the Gregorian calendar), the starting point of the
Muslim calendar. Since the Muslim year is a lunar one consisting of only 354
days, the commencement of the new year fluctuates widely by the Western
calendar” (Encyclopedia Americana).
The Vietnamese New Year, Tet, falls between January 21 and February 19. “The
Jewish New Year, a solemn occasion called Rosh Ha-Shannah, is observed during
September or early October. Hindus in different parts of India celebrate the new
year on various dates” (World Book,
2001). This is what happens when people insist on relying on their own judgment
rather than trusting the One who designed the entire universe and everything in
Not only is the history
of New Year’s confusing and chaotic, but so is the holiday itself. For some
reason, people tend to let go of all inhibition—and many times self-respect—and
simply go wild on New Year’s. They drink too much, “hooking up” with people they
barely know, for quick affairs that yield life-long repercussions—and shoot guns
off into the air to “ring in the new year.” Many throw away common sense in
order to have a good time before the night is over. In most cases, the only
thing people regret is that they have hangovers the next morning. However, that
is usually the least of their problems.
According to MADD
(Mothers Against Drunk Driving), on New Year’s Eve (1999), 43 out of 117 total
U.S.-wide traffic fatalities—36.5 percent—were alcohol-related. The following
New Year’s Eve, the number jumped to 75 out of 147—51.2 percent. On New Year’s
Day (1999) 65.7 percent of all U.S. traffic deaths were alcohol-rated, the
highest percentage for any holiday that year! That same New Year’s weekend had
53.8 percent. Think about it. People died because of the foolishness of others.
When America was still
in its infancy, “many American colonists in New England celebrated the new year
by firing guns into the air and shouting” (World
Book, 2001). Unfortunately, that tradition still thrives in some
parts of the United States. In 1993, the New Orleans newspaper,
The Times-Picayune, published a
front-page informational graphic reminding citizens about the law of gravity:
that whatever goes up (bullets) eventually must come down
somewhere. Sadly, few heeded the
warning. In fact, a top news editor for the paper who had just moved into town
that year received a taste of this tradition—a bullet hole in his brand new car!
Only a few years ago, a woman celebrating New Year’s in the French Quarter
(which is along the Mississippi River) was struck down and instantly killed by a
bullet. Authorities believed that the shot was fired from the other side of that
Obviously, a holiday
this chaotic, violent and dangerous does not reflect God’s command to “Let all
things be done decently and in order” (I
Cor. 14:40). All true Christians recognize this about New Year’s
celebrations and avoid them.
True Christians Live by
God’s Word—Not by “Traditions of Men”
True Christians know
that they must live “by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt.
4:4). They know that man cannot rely on himself to determine right
from wrong, good from evil. Why? Because “the heart [mind] is deceitful above
all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer.
17:9), and “the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who
walks to direct his own steps” (Jer.
10:23). God’s ways are higher, better, than man’s ways (Isa.
55:8-9). He designed us and gave us life. Wouldn’t He know how we are
supposed to live?
God (your Creator) has
given you (His creation) an “instruction manual” to help you live your life the
way He originally intended (John
10:10). That “manual”—the Holy Bible—is God’s Word and His truth (John
17:17). It is filled with spiritual laws, statutes, and judgments
guided by perfect spiritual knowledge, understanding and wisdom.
II Timothy 3:16-17 states, “All
scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine
[teaching], for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that
the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Only
God’s Word can accurately distinguish right from wrong, righteousness (obedience
to God’s commandments –
Psalm 119:172) from sin (breaking God’s
spiritual laws –
I John 3:4 and
understand that, as the only real standard of truth man can live by, God’s Holy
Scriptures “cannot be broken” (John
But most people—even
most professing Christians—love to follow the ideas of men. Jesus recognized
this, warning, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far
from Me. Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the
commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the
tradition of men…Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep
your own tradition…making the word of God of none effect through your tradition,
which you have delivered” (Mark
God commands His people
not to follow pagan practices. Yet mankind follows them anyway. Nowhere in the
Bible does God command true Christians to celebrate New Year’s. Nor are there
any positive biblical examples of true Christians celebrating New Year’s. Yet,
society (including most professing Christians) thumbs its nose at God, in effect
telling Him, “We’ll decide what we should or should not do!”
Now what about New
Year’s? Can you find any biblical examples of God’s loyal, righteous followers
celebrating New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day? What about David, a man after
God’s own heart? What about Abraham, the father of the faithful? What about
Moses, or even Christ?
The answer is
no. Nor can you find a biblical command from
God to celebrate such a day. Yet that does not stop most professing Christians
from doing so. Christians actively search the Scriptures to learn God’s will.
Their life’s mission is to live by God’s Word alone—not by the traditions of
men, including pagan New Year’s celebrations!
God Has His OWN Calendar,
With Its Own “New Year”
When God instituted the
Passover to Israel, He also revealed to them His sacred calendar: “This month
shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the
year to you” (Ex.
12:2). God’s calendar begins in the spring, between March and April
of this world’s calendar system.
Leviticus chapter 23 reveals all the
special holy days (annual sabbaths) that true Christians are to observe. They
are dictated by GOD’S calendar, not man’s. Although the Bible tells us when His
calendar year begins, God does not command—or even suggest—that His followers
cast aside all self-control and celebrate the new year like animals gone wild.
understand what days they are commanded to observe: Passover, Days of Unleavened
Bread, Feast of Firstfruits (Pentecost), Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement,
Feast of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day, all clearly projected on God’s
sacred calendar. Christ kept them, and so did the apostles (Matt.
I Cor. 5:6-8).
Christians believe these special days are only for the Jews. They would rather
blindly observe pagan holidays, instituted in humanly-devised calendars.
True Christians know better.
This Is Satan’s World—True
Christians Must Come Out of It
God’s true servants
realize that this world belongs to Satan. He rules it. He runs it, through men,
using mass deception, lies, slander, corruption and intrigue: “And the great
dragon...that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole
12:9). Satan was the serpent who misled Adam and Eve into eating from
the forbidden tree, thus cutting their offspring—mankind through the ages—off
from God (Gen.
3). And Satan is the same evil spirit who misleads man into
committing every sin under the sun.
As you read this,
somewhere a little child is being abused. Someone is being murdered. Someone
else is being robbed. As long as Satan rules this world, mankind will drown in
sins—including pagan customs and practices, which may seem harmless to the
average person, but are a stench to God’s nostrils.
Looking into the near
future, when man’s Satan-influenced world will collapse, God declares, “Babylon
the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the
hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all
nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of
the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth
are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies” (Rev.
It is this Satanic
system that God commands His people to “Come out of…that you be not partakers of
her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues” (vs.
Both New Year’s Eve and
New Year’s Day originate from this pagan, Satan-influenced world. They were
designed to deceive mankind as a whole by appealing to fleshly, carnal
desires—or, as the Bible calls them, the works of the flesh: “Now the works of
the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness,
lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath,
strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such
Do any of these sound
like the attitudes of New Year’s to you?
At the end of
verse 21, we read, “they which do such
things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Christ’s followers have their
minds focused on God’s kingdom (Matt.
6:33)—not on the fleshly cravings of this world. They strive to “put
off the old man” and actively imitate the perfect, righteous example of Jesus
Christ. They know they must come out of
this Satan-influenced world, including its pagan customs, practices and
traditions. That includes celebrating New Year’s.
One day soon, Satan will
be removed from His throne, and replaced by Christ, who will establish and head
God’s government—the way of righteousness and peace, mercy and truth—on this
earth. When that day arrives (and it is coming sooner than you realize), mankind
will no longer be deceived into practicing customs that are contrary to God’s
until then, what about you? You now know the plain truth about New Year’s, its
pagan origins, its chaotic history, and how God views its customs, traditions