The New Year of Christmas Day

Cristian Ispir
2 min readDec 25, 2023

Do you remember when Christmas Day, the 25th of December, also marked the beginning of the New Year? Probably not.

Before most European nations agreed to reckon each calendar year from the 1st of January, some parts of Western Europe used to start the year on Christmas Day. In the middle ages, several Italian city states, like Perugia and Arezzo, used to count each new year from Natività, that is Christmas, while England would start each year on the day of the Annunciation, on 25 March — although many monasteries would count the first day of the year on the 1st of January, the kalends of January, like the ancient Romans. Thankfully (or not), travelling around Europe at the time took an enormous amount of time, otherwise you’d start the trip in one year and end up a few weeks later in the next year, depending on where you would alight.

But by the 16th century, with the introduction of the Gregorian reform, most local calendars became aligned and Christmas day ceased to be New Year’s Day. The sense of renewal around Christmas, however, endured and though we no longer celebrate New Year’s Day on the 25th of December, we still feel its transformative power.

Happy Christmas everyone, may we celebrate each day as though it’s a new year and a new beginning.