Tuesday, December 29, 2009

is it wrong to celebrate new years?

Why am I getting all Yeshivish all of a sudden? I was writing a friend of mine an email and was about to end it with a 'Happy New Year' when it occured to me that this friend would most definitely not be celebrating the start of 2010. And of course, that got me thinking...

Is it wrong to celebrate this non-Jewish day? And by celebrate, I mean go to a party, drink like it's 2009, and use the aformentioned salutation when it is most definitely not Rosh Hashanah. Am I actively committing a sin by participating in a day that was originally established to celebrate the birth of christianity? Or am I just acting plain goyish by partying? (i think it's debatable whether that's such a bad thing)

Or has the gregorian calendar lost all religious significance in our secular society? Is new years just another national (well, multi-national) holiday, like Thanksgiving or Independance Day? And isn't the Jewish calendar based on the ancient Persian?


Anonymous said...

Yes, you are committing a sin, and you will burn in the flaming fires of hell beside the people that peek by birkat Kohanim.
Happy new year

Jessica said...


listen to this lecture... you can celebrate new years if you want. it's not quite like celebrating xmas. but def listen to this. first half xmas, 2nd half new years

Anonymous said...

If you want to celebrate holidays that aren't specifically Jewish, the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving are better choices. And President's Day - the sales are excellent!

Jessica said...

I think New Years has become a secular holiday, not a religious holiday. If we're worried about celebrating a Christian new year then we should probably stop using the Christian calendar altogether. In other words, there's nothing wrong with celebrating... as long as you don't get piss drunk.

Jacob Da Jew said...

Hey, its my birthday! so go have fun and just have kavana that you're celebrating JdJ 's birthday ;)

Bonus "mitzvah" points if you buy da jew and da wife a drink :P

ProfK said...

The secular calendar has been fiddled with by so many people over the years that calling it a "Christian" calendar simply no longer applies.

Re the greeting of "Happy New Year," we borrowed that one from the secular world. It was not, and perhaps still is not, our term for how we greet people at Rosh Hashana time. Our greeting is "Shana Tovah" or perhaps
"L'shana tovah tikosavu."

Re the getting sloshed in celebrating new years, it's not required or accepted across the board. And we can hardly cavil at the practice--Purim anyone?

So yes, have a happy new year.

Anonymous said...

Most goyim don't even realize that New Years was J's bris - it's 8 days after Christmas. So, I would say it's most probably not OK to celebrate New Years.

G6 said...

Anonymous -
That would only hold true IF IN FACT his birthday was December 25th, but it wasn't.

Expatriate Owl said...

I hasten to note the following:

A. On the Catholic Church calendar, Xmas is the Birthday and New Year's Day is the Bris. Really!

B. When I worked for the federal government, we sometimes had little New Year parties on the first day of October, because the federal fiscal year runs from 1 October to 30 September. Our mission was to purchase materiel (that's how we spelled it) for the armed forces. In years of budgetary plenitude, we would bust our beytzim during September to spend all of our appropriated funds before the fiscal year ran out, else we'd lose them. And so, after all that hard work, we would party to ring in the new fiscal year.

C. I was once asked why our Jewish New Year keeps shifting around. I replied that our year was established before their year, and that our year remains constant while their year shifts around.

So forget the guilt trip, MM, and have yourself a Happy New Year!

DanielS82 said...

Def listen to the shiur on simple to remember. New Years goes back to an ancient Pagan holiday, that had nothing to do with a new year (which was celebrated in march close to the vernal equinox) but I doubt it is really SO bad to celebrate secular new years, as long as you are doing it in a Kosher way. Of course, I am sure if I were to ask my Rabbi if there was a Kosher way to celebrate the day, I would probably be told I should sent it either learning Torah, or saying Tehillim, or something like that. Instead I wil be working till 11 and then probably watch some tv or something or play a videogame or two.

Mikeinmidwood said...


It was also taken the other way, just today I had a secualr Israeli tell me shana tova.

Moshe said...

New years' is celebrated in many countries with no religious significance. 25th and 1st aren't even accepted by all Christians.

Even x-mas tree is not strictly religious anymore. In Russia and Turkey, it's a New Year's Tree which is put up for kids with no religious significance.