I say it. You say it. We all say it: Happy New Year! But answer me this, smarty pants — why do we say it? Don't get me wrong. I have no problem whatsoever with New Year's. Any excuse to have a party or sit around like a sloth is just fine in my opinion. I just wonder why we do it, that's all.
Who started the whole New Year's thing anyway? It was the ancient Babylonians, bless their hearts — they started a lot of things as it turns out. That's the cool thing about being an ancient civilization. Whatever you do, you're the first to do it. You do a hanging garden, everybody wants a hanging garden.
A simple fact explains why, on a cold and otherwise meaningless winter's night, we start yelling and cheering and kissing everyone in sight when the clock strikes 12. It's because the Babylonians followed a different calendar. Four thousand years ago, the new year didn't start in January. The Babylonians wouldn't have known January from Janis Joplin. Actually they didn't know her either. The Babylonian New Year started with the vernal equinox, a.k.a. the first day of spring.