Many ancient civilizations celebrated the start of a new year at the time of spring planting. Ancient Rome used the vernal equinox as the beginning of the year. March 25 was New Year’s Day. But Roman politicians moved public observances around the calendar to gain more weeks in their terms of office. Eventually dates became so confused that the Roman Senate had to act. It ordered that January 1 should be New Year’s Day. But politicians resumed their tinkering with dates. Julius Caesar had a new (Julian) calendar created which was more accurate. In order to synchonize the calendar with the seasons he had to make 46 B.C. 445 days long. It was the “year of confusion,” but having the Julian calendar made it worthwhile.

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