When is New Year's day? Here's when the holiday falls for 2024 and why we celebrate it.

For some, the countdown to the New Year immediately begins after the previous one ends. Each year, on January 1, people ring in a fresh start with resolutions to change and endless, extravagant parties.

But why do we celebrate New Year's and how did the holiday originate? Its current traditions of champagne toasts and midnight kisses were not always how New Year's was celebrated throughout history.

So, before the ball drops, here is what you need to know about New Year's 2024, plus a primer on its origins and traditions.

When is New Year's?

New Year's Day falls on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024.

When is New Year's Eve?

New Year's Eve is Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023.

Why does the new year begin on January 1?

New Year's festivities date back to ancient Babylon, where the first new moon after the vernal equinox signified the start of a new year, reports the History Channel. The festival of "Akitu" lasted for 11 days with a different ritual each day.

The Roman calendar followed a similar format with its new year occurring at the vernal equinox, creating a year that lasted 10 months and 304 days, according to the History Channel. The months of "Januarius" and "Februarius" were later added thanks to King Numa Pompilius.

In 46 B.C., Emperor Julius Caesar introduced a new Julian calendar, instituting Jan. 1 as the start of the new year. The month took its name from Janus, the Roman god of beginnings. Roman celebrations for New Year's included exchanging gifts, giving offerings to Janus, decorating homes with laurel branches and attending parties.

The date of New Year's shifted briefly in medieval Europe when Christian leaders opted for dates with more religious significance. They adjusted the beginning of the year first to December 25 and then later to March 25, Britannica reports. Once the Gregorian calendar was established in 1582 by the Catholic Church, Pope Gregory XIII chose Jan. 1 to be New Year’s Day.

Many cultures and religions, however, celebrate New Year's on other days. For instance, in the Jewish religious calendar, the new year is marked on Rosh Hashanah, which occurs between September and October depending on the year. Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year, is celebrated for a month, beginning typically in late January or early February.

New Year's celebrations, traditions explained

Modern New Year's celebrations often begin New Year's Eve on Dec. 31. In the U.S., the tradition of the Times Square ball drop sees a giant light-up ball slowly lowered with a countdown to the new year.

The first New Year's Eve ball drop took place in 1907. The ball was made of iron and wood – measuring 5 feet in diameter and weighing 700 pounds – and was decorated with 100 light bulbs. The current ball is 12 feet in diameter and weighs almost 12,000 pounds, according to the official Times Square website.

Making New Year's resolutions is another popular tradition. It dates back to ancient Babylonians making promises to the gods in order to start the year off right. Today, people still make promises but to themselves, instead of gods. Modern resolutions tend to be more personal. Examples include quitting a habit, getting in shape or learning a new skill.

Other ways people ring in the New Year include partying with loved ones, watching fireworks, toasting champagne, singing songs like "Auld Lang Syne" or sharing a New Year's kiss at midnight.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: When is New Year's? Your guide to the holiday for 2024.