Why does the New Year Start on January 1st

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Disclaimer: The following post, while factually justified by actual historic events (with artistic license for entertainment purposes), may be offensive to folks who take the story of Christianity literally. If you hold religious beliefs, or mind some relatively graphic language, you may consider not reading this post further.

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“I miss Caesar, man,” said Festus, senior senator in the Roman Senate as he picked up a large piece of slow-roasted bull collarbone leftover from the previous night’s feast. “He was the coolest. It’s been, what? 44 years since that asshole Brutus gutted him?”

“Who?” asked his friend and fellow Senator Zaro, who had been fiddling with an abacus which he had discovered to his great surprise standing unnaturally on the heavy wooden table among numerous dishes, piles of fruit, and decanters of wine, arranged to look as if they were flowing out of a large Cornucopia centerpiece.

“Caesar. Julius Caesar. Remember him?”

“Oh, yeah,” said Zaro distractedly. “Pity, that thing.”

“Well, it’s been 44 years,” said Festus.

“44 is kind of a funny number,” mused Zaro, flipping some of the abacus beads back and forth.

“How so?” asked Festus. He had taken a few bites from the collarbone, but seemed to have gotten bored with it, because he put it down and picked up a plate of chicken livers instead.

“First, it nice and symmetric,” said Zaro. “If you use the Arabic numbers, that is. Four-Four. Same two numbers. It’s pretty cool. I know we don’t use the Arabic numbers, but if you ask me personally, I think they are catching on. They’d probably be a thing a few dozen years from now.”

“Hmm,” said Festus, whose mouth was full of chicken liver. He was looking for a clean mug so he can pour himself some wine.

“In our number system, it’s XLIV, which I think also reads pretty cool,” continued musing Zaro, playing with the abacus absentmindedly. “X,L,I,V. Extra Large Intra-Venous something. Or, whatever you want to make out of it.”

“And third?” asked Festus.

“Third what?”

“You said first and second,” challenged him Festus. “Is there a third?”

“Well, yeah. Third, it’s the average age of a typical Roman male nowadays. We’ve got wars, overindulgence, venereal diseases…”

Festus had found a mug which looked reasonably clean. He poured himself some wine.

“OK, I’m convinced,” he said. “It’s an important anniversary.”

He took a large sip from the wine, and squinted into the distance. “Remember what his favorite thing to do was?”

“Whose?”

“Caesar, dude, our gutted friend we’ve been talking about!”

“Oh, yeah. No. What was it?”

“What was what?”

“His favorite thing.”

“His Calendar,” said Festus. He seemed pleased with himself. “Remember he invented that, and then he was so proud, and he was like, guys, let’s use this calendar, we just have to find a good place where it should start.”

“I don’t remember,” said Zaro.

“Doesn’t matter,” said Festus. “I remember. He said that.”

There was silence. Festus was contemplating his mug, while Zaro had turned the abacus sideways and was flicking the beads up and letting them drop down.

“I say we do something about this,” said Festus decisively.

“Like what?” asked Zaro.

“I say, we make him a saint, and then start his calendar. As a tribute.” Festus refilled his mug and raised it as a toast.

Zaro looked at a large hour glass standing next to the table in which the sand had completely ran out. “How long will that take?” he asked.

“Ten, fifteen lines of that hourglass. No more than that,” said Festus knowingly. He drained his cup of wine all at once.

Zaro sighed. “Whatever, let’s do it,” he said.

“OK!” Festus tried to get up, but lost his balance and sat back down. “Wow, dude. That’s some serious wine,” he said. “Ok, ok, so, here we go. Let’s figure out what the first day of the new year should be.”

“How?” Zaro was shaking the abacus and listening to the crackle it made.

“Let’s pick something that happened, something weird, so people remember,” suggested Festus.

“For example?” inquired Zaro, trying to spin the abacus on his finger.

“I don’t know. How about you leave that thing alone and fucking contribute an idea?” snapped Festus.

Zaro put the abacus away. “OK. Let me think,” he said. He furrowed his brows.

“Here is one,” he said after a few moments of reflection. “A kid was born in Bethlehem a few weeks ago. Mother was a virgin. That weird enough?”

“Tell me more,” said Festus. He was popping grapes into his mouth.

“That’s it. That’s all I’ve got,” Zaro spread his hands.

“Was the mother really a virgin, or did her dude have a really tiny…”

“Dikus!” shouted Zaro at a disoriented young man with a tilted helmet who poked his head in the room.

“Fuck you,” said the visitor, “I was just looking for the loo.” Zaro stared in his direction even though he had already disappeared.

“So, anyway, back to that kid,” said Festus. “Did the husband just jizz over his lady’s hoo-hoo and somehow his swimmers got in?”

“Jesus, are you full of creative explanations!” exclaimed Zaro. “How the fuck should I know? That’s their own personal business. And who the fuck cares? Let’s just say it was a miracle, and the gal never got any, poor thing, and still got knocked up anyway. Bottom line is, a kid was born to a virgin mother. That’s as weird as I can come up with.”

“OK, I can work with that,” Festus raised his hand in a conciliatory gesture. “So, do we start Caesar’s calendar on the kid’s birthday?”

“No, man, you don’t start the calendar on his birthday. You start it 8 days later, when he gets his pee-pee serviced.”

“Serviced?!” Festus looked perplexed.

“Circumcised. Snipped,” clarified Zaro. “They do that, you know.”

“Oh, right. The pee-pee snip day. That makes a lot more sense,” agreed Festus. He held his stomach and winced. “Yuck. The chicken livers were spoiled, I think.” He pointed at the empty plate. “Anyway, I think that works. We’ll declare Caesar a saint, and we’ll start his calendar on the day that kid’s dick shed blood. And everyone will celebrate this day going forward as the New Year.”

He sat back with a smile.

“That’s so totally arbitrary,” said Zaro.

“I know,” said Festus. “But it’s as good as anything.”

There was another silence.

“So, you happy now?” asked Zaro carefully.

“I think so,” said Festus.

“Good,” said Zaro, leaned forward and picked up the abacus again.

“Oh, one more question,” interjected Festus. “Did the kid have a normal dick?”

Zaro shrugged. “How the fuck should I know? Probably. If he didn’t, someone would have said something. It was probably normal.”

“Good,” said Festus. “Good, good. It’s all coming up nicely.” He raised his mug. “Happy New Year, man!”

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News Sense News is a satirical blog that aims to educate, criticize, expose human follies and, well, make fun of things.

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