*** rs p. 180 Holidays ***
re New Year?s celebrations objectionable for Christians?
According to The World Book Encyclopedia, "The Roman ruler Julius Caesar established January 1 as New Year?s Day in 46 B.C. The Romans dedicated this day to Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings. The month of January was named after Janus, who had two faces?one looking forward and the other looking backward."?(1984), Vol. 14, p. 237.
Both the date and the customs associated with New Year?s celebrations vary from one country to another. In many places revelry and drinking are part of the festivities. However, Romans 13:13 counsels: "As in the daytime let us walk decently, not in revelries and drunken bouts, not in illicit intercourse and loose conduct, not in strife and jealousy." (See also 1 Peter 4:3, 4; Galatians 5:19-21.)
*** w74 1/1 p. 32 Questions from Readers ***
Questions from Readers
? Why do Jehovah?s witnesses refrain from participation in New Year?s celebrations??U.S.A.
The New Year?s celebrations associated with the end of one year and the beginning of the next on January 1 have false religious connections. The first day of January was sacred to the two-faced Roman god Janus and so was a pagan holiday. But there is another strong reason for Christian abstention.
Christians are admonished: "Let us walk decently, not in revelries and drunken bouts, not in illicit intercourse and loose conduct." (Rom. 13:13) New Year?s celebrations, however, are very frequently marked by such practices and excesses. Observes the Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend: "Many Occidental countries mark the passing of the old year and the arrival of the new by elaborate balls, drinking, and generally orgiastic behavior." Of non-Western cultures, the same work notes that they also "consider the ending of one year and the beginning of the next as a moment of gratification.
Involvement in a New Year?s celebration on the part of a person, even if he maintains self-control, could mean condoning the unrestrained conduct of others and approving a practice rooted in false religion. The refusal of Jehovah?s witnesses to engage in such celebrations does not mean they do not enjoy relaxation and recreation. They do. But they seek to preserve a good conscience before God and men, avoiding excesses and also the appearance of observing pagan festivities.