the scots calls new year "Hogmanay," and they also give us the saying "auld lang syne." it is scots english for "old long since," or, more properly translated, "times gone by." brook and i were wondering why the new year falls on jan 1, a time that seems to lack any symbolic meaning. the answer lies in our switch from use of the Julian calendar (which was slightly too long), to the Gregorian calendar in 1582. the catholic church wanted the vernal equinox to more accurately approximate Easter, and so corrections to the calendar had to be made. owing to the slow adoption of this new, papal-endorsed calendar, it was common to denote dates with 2 different numbers. man what a headache! "And the Muslim people going, "A.D., who's he?"" -eddie izzard anyhoo. why jan 1? you would think that with such an overtly catholic system, christ's birthday would demarcate the year. well, the papal bull instituting the change did not specify when the new year began, and many did indeed use xmas as the start of the year. others used easter as new year's day, and there are a variety of discrepancies. but somewhere in the middle ages, the date of January 1st took on the name "new year's day," and in the ensuing confusion of the switch from Julian to Gregorian, most of us now agree upon this date, arbitrary as it is. so raise a glass, light something on fire, and love the one you're with. Happy New Year!