Traditionally, the Mayan calendar began the first day of March. However, it was in January (the eleventh month) when the consuls of ancient Rome assumed the government. Julius Caesar, in 47 BC, changed the system, creating the Julian calendar. It was modified in the time of Mark Antony consul in 44 BC, again by the emperor Augustus Caesar in 8 BC and finally by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, which brought the calendar to its present day form. This year begins on January 1. Subsequently, this day was marked with a religious significance during the Middle Ages and later centuries.
With the expansion of Western culture to the rest of the world during the twentieth century, the January 1 date became universal in nature, even in countries with their own New Year celebrations (e.g., China and India).
At present, the celebration of New Year is a major celebration worldwide. Many large-scale events are held in major cities around the world New Year's Eve (December 31), being accompanied by the largest fireworks events.
Sydney launched over 80,000 fireworks at midnight, and had more than one and a half million attendees; it was also the most-watched event on television worldwide last year.[when?] InValparaiso upwards of two million visitors witnessed the largest fireworks in a natural setting; a total of more than 21 kilometers of fireworks on the bay, from the commercial port city of Valparaiso to Concon, Chile, all in 25 minutes of entertainment. In New York, the celebration is focused around a large crystal ball that descends in a ten second countdown in Times Square; 2008 was the party with the largest number of attendees - more than three million people. Edinburgh plays host to one of the world's largest Hogmanay events. Celebrations last for four days and attracts visitors from around the globe to take part in the street parties, and attend concerts.
In the culture of Latin America there is a variety of traditions and superstitions for these dates as omens for the coming year. January still remains a symbol of New Year's celebration.
According to the Christian tradition, January 1 coincides with the circumcision of Christ (eight days after birth), when the name of Jesus was given to him (Luke 2: 21). (source of article: wikipedia.com)