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New Year is the time or day at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar's year count increments by one.
Many cultures celebrate the event in some manner and the 1st day of January is often marked as a national holiday.
In the Gregorian calendar, the most widely used calendar system today, New Year occurs on January 1 (New Year's Day). This was also the case both in the Roman calendar (at least after about 713 BC) and in the Julian calendar that succeeded it.
Other calendars have been used historically in different parts of the world; some calendars count years numerically, while others do not.
During the Middle Ages in western Europe, while the Julian calendar was still in use, authorities moved New Year's Day, depending upon locale, to one of several other days, including March 1, March 25, Easter, September 1, and December 25. Beginning in 1582, the adoptions of the Gregorian calendar and changes to the Old Style and New Style dates meant the various local dates for New Year's Day changed to using one fixed date, January 1.
The widespread official adoption of the Gregorian calendar and marking January 1 as the beginning of a new year is almost global now. Regional or local use of other calendars continues, along with the cultural and religious practices that accompany them. In Latin America, various native cultures continue the observation of traditions according to their own calendars. Israel, China, India, and other countries continue to celebrate New Year on different dates.
January 1: The first day of the civil year in the Gregorian calendar used by most countries.
Because of the division of the globe into time zones, the new year moves progressively around the globe as the start of the day ushers in the New Year. The first time zone to usher in the New Year, just west of the International Date Line, is located in the Line Islands, a part of the nation of Kiribati, and has a time zone 14 hours ahead of UTC. All other time zones are 1 to 25 hours behind, most in the previous day (December 31); on American Samoa and Midway, it is still 11 PM on December 30. These are among the last inhabited places to observe New Year. However, uninhabited outlying U.S. territories Howland Island and Baker Island are designated as lying within the time zone 12 hours behind UTC, the last places on earth to see the arrival of January 1. These small coral islands are found about midway between Hawaii and Australia, about 1,000 miles west of the Line Islands. This is because the International Date Line is a composite of local time zone arrangements, which winds through the Pacific Ocean, allowing each locale to remain most closely connected in time with the nearest or largest or most convenient political and economic locales with which each associate. By the time Howland Island sees the new year, it is 2 AM on January 2 in the Line Islands of Kiribati.
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