The Traditions of New Year: New Year's Day is the first day of the calendar year. Celebrated in almost every country today, January 1st has only been recognized as a holiday by Western nations for approximately 400 years. Since earliest times, people have sought to satisfy the deep-rooted longing for recreation by celebrating the New Year. Observed on varying dates in different lands, New Year festivals mark the pivotal point where time is deemed to begin anew...an emergence of the pure and pristine for both the world itself and individuals alike, provided the proper steps are taken. First, celebrants must banish the malicious spirits and accumulated evils of the past in order to prevent infection of the coming year. Next, come rites of purification, followed by positive acts which ensure an auspicious future. Sometimes, participants are unaware that they are following ancient mystical practices. Few Westerners, for example, realize that their New Year horns and fireworks were once used as tools intended to banish evil spirits.