A History of New Year Resolutions

The oldest recorded New Year resolution dates to about 2000 BCE. Introduction Every year, many of us make New Year resolutions and, predictably, many of these resolutions are often not kept. While this seems to us as an annual ritual, the history of New Year resolutions is ancient and, just like today, people in the[…]

The Icy Backstory to that ‘Clink Clink’ You Hear When Toasting in the New Year

The history of ice in drinks goes back to antiquity but only really got going when a Bostonian started exporting ice to colonial India. Introduction If ever there was a year to toast drawing to an end, it’s 2020. Over the festive period, people around the world will be raising a glass to better times[…]

The Battle of All Time: How the World Arrived at the Current Yearly Calendar

For centuries more the Protestants of Northern Europe refused to recognize the new “Gregorian” calendar. By Erik Von Norden Consider that our whole concept of time is off by several years due to a small math mistake by a sixth-century monk named Dionysus Exiguus (Dennis the Really, Really Short). By way of explanation, it seems[…]

Extinctions, Eruptions, and Plague: Awful Years in History

Experts from science, history, and literature take us through some terrible times. Around the world, people can’t wait for 2020 to end. COVID-19 has killed close to a million people globally over the course of the pandemic. On top of the coronavirus, there’s been significant floods in Uganda, Kenya, Pakistan and the UK, Australia has[…]

Celebrating the New Year in Colonial America

American colonists actually celebrated New Year on March 25th! By Eryn Dion While modern day New Year’s celebrations are all about ball drops and champagne, that’s understandably not everyone’s scene. If you’re tired of staying up until midnight and partying all night long, give some of these interesting New Year’s traditions from colonial America a[…]

Peter the Great and the New Year in Russia

His decree ordered that Russia observe calendar years from the birth of Christ. Peter the Great’s reign was marked by an overriding desire to enforce reform on Russia, dragging it kicking and screaming in to line with many European practices. On 20 December 1699 (according to the Julian Calendar), he even introduced a decree that[…]