New Year Wishes to Authorities: Behind the Long Standing Tradition

New year celebrations date as far back as the first century.

It is customary that during this period people extend new year wishes to loved ones.

But how did new year wishes become a tradition?

The culture of wishing state personnel and other important personalities date as far back as the medieval period.

January 1 was the first day of the year in the original Julian calendar and of the Roman calendar (after 153 BC).

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 has meant that many national or local dates in the Western World and beyond have changed to using one fixed date for New Year’s Day, January 1.

Other cultures observe their traditional or religious New Year’s Day according to their own customs, sometimes in addition to a (Gregorian) civil calendar.

Chinese New Year, the Islamic New Year, the traditional Japanese New Year and the Jewish New Year are the more well-known examples.

During this early period, church authorities usually organise ceremonies where Christians extend them New Year wishes not only by words but in kind.

Local authorities in the medieval times also copied this style in order to gain recognition among their subjects.

As centuries passed, the tradition was maintained in almost all spheres of life.

New Year wish ceremonies have taken a rather political prominent phase.

It is now a powerful tool in diplomacy where heads of governments and organisations extend New Year wishes to their peers as a means of reaffirming their political alliances.

New Year wish ceremonies are a huge part of Cameroon’s January agenda.

Cameroonians will begin a series of New Year wish ceremonies this Thursday February 9, 2020.

Members of the diplomatic corp will all be present at the Unity Palace to wish the President of Cameroon H.E Paul Biya a happy new year.

A prostrate, a bow with a firm handshake will accompany the words “Happy New Year Mr. President.”

Other top government officials will follow suit after the President Paul Biya sets the stage for the New Year wishes.

Bruno Ndonwie Funwie

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