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Ready to celebrate New Year’s 2020? New Year’s Eve falls on Tuesday, December 31, 2019, and New Year’s Day falls on Wednesday, January 1, 2020

January 1 is a public holiday in the United States and Canada (as well as many countries around the world).


First, what does the word “decade” mean?  Oxford Dictionary states, “a period of ten years, especially a period such as 1910–1919 or 1990–1999.” That’s it.

There is some debate about whether a “new decade” begins on January 1, 2020, or January 1, 2021. There are two common ways of counting decades: 

One way groups years by starting from zero and going to 9. For example, the “1980s” refers to the period from 1980 to 1989. Or, the “1960s” refers to 1960 to 1969.Another more “technical” way counts decades starting with the first year 1 CE. (Note: The Gregorian calendar goes from 1 BCE to 1 CE; there is no year zero.)

When polled, most people say that the next decade will begin on January 1, 2020, and end on December 31, 2029.

Bottom line: Technically, 2021 is the start of the new decade based on the Gregorian calendar. Culturally, many people commonly think of as a decade (such as the 1980s, 1990s) as years ending in 0 to years ending in 9. So, 2010 to 2019; 2020 to 2029.

However you define a decade, let’s just celebrate the start of a new year and new beginnings!


January 1 starts the New Year according to today’s Gregorian calendar.

The idea of starting the New Year on January 1 began with the Romans. In about 153 BC, Roman consuls begin their year in office on January 1. (In the old Roman calendar, March was the first month). At about 45 BC, the Julian calendar of the Roman Empire was implemented, establishing January 1 as the new date of the new year.

The month of “January” is named for Janus, the ancient Roman god. Often depiced as having two faces—one looking forward and one looking back—Janus was the god of beginnings and endings, doors and gates, passageways and transitions.

In ancient Roman times, the gates of the temple of Janus were open in times of war and closed in times of peace. While Janus is linked to war, it was more as a way to protect and welcome returning warriors; at other times, he symbolizes peace. 

The winter solstice was thought to occur on December 25. So, the New Year started on the 1st of the next month, January. The Romans consecrated this day to Janus, exchanging good wishes and gift of sweet figs and honey in Janus’ honor. 

In modern times, not all cultures follow the Gregorian calendar. The New Year in the Hindu, Chinese, Coptic, Jewish, Islamic calendars differ.

The Chinese New Year starts in January or early February. Read more about the 2020 Chinese New Year.The Jewish New Year (based on a lunar calendar) is called Rosh Hashanah and usually in September.

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