When is the Real New Year According to the Bible?

The celebration of the new year is a major event in today’s culture. As the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, crowds gather to cheer, partypoppers pop, and glasses clink to welcome in the coming year. However, is January 1st the real new year according to the Bible? There is debate among Christians regarding when Scripture points to as the true new year. In this post, we will explore the evidence in the Bible for determining when God intended for the year to begin. We will look at the Hebrew calendar, Feasts of the Lord, and astronomical events to assess when the real new year is according to Scripture.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Hebrew calendar starts the new year in the spring during the month of Nisan.
  • Biblical Feasts point to the new year beginning in the spring.
  • Astronomical events related to God’s appointed times occur in the spring.
  • There is no commandment in the Bible to celebrate January 1st as the start of the new year.
  • The spring new year lines up with key redemption events in Scripture.
  • There is debate among Christians about when the real new year is according to the Bible.
  • More study is required to fully understand God’s calendar.
When is the Real New Year According to the Bible?

The Hebrew Calendar New Year

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Most evidence from Scripture points to the new year beginning in spring, not on January 1st as it does on the modern Gregorian calendar. The Hebrew calendar laid out in the Old Testament has the first month (Nisan) in the spring.

“This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you.” (Exodus 12:2 ESV)

God declared this first month to be in the spring season around the time of Passover.

“Observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night.” (Deuteronomy 16:1 ESV)

The month of Abib later became known as Nisan (Esther 3:7). It is the first month of the sacred year for the Hebrew calendar. Nisan corresponds to March/April on the modern calendar. New Year’s Day in the Hebrew calendar is referred to as “Rosh Hashanah” which means “head of the year” (Ezekiel 40:1). Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first of Nisan.

So according to the Hebrew calendar given by God in Scripture, the new year starts in the spring during the month of Nisan, not January 1st. The current Jewish calendar that some follow today sets Rosh Hashanah in the fall, but the original calendar in the Torah established the first month in the spring.

Feasts of the Lord Point to Spring

The Lord’s appointed times give insight into the beginning of the year. God instituted annual feasts for the Israelites to observe.

“These are the appointed feasts of the Lord, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them.” (Leviticus 23:4 ESV)

The feasts were tied to the agricultural harvests in the land. Passover and Unleavened Bread occurred at the time of the barley harvest. Pentecost marked the wheat harvest. And the Fall feasts coincided with the fruit harvest.

Scripture specifically says Passover took place at the start of the new year:

“In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight, is the Lord’s Passover.” (Leviticus 23:5 ESV)

The Feast of Trumpets in the fall speaks of the turning of the year, but the first month is clearly Passover in the spring:

“Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation.” (Leviticus 23:24 ESV)

The Feasts show evidence that God’s calendar resets in the spring, not the middle of winter. If the real new year was January 1st, we would expect Passover to be at the start of the year, not in the middle. The Feasts God instituted fit with a new year starting in the spring with Passover, not a winter new year on January 1st.

Astronomical Events Point to Spring

A key principle with God’s calendar is using the sun, moon, and stars for signs, seasons, days, and years.

“And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years.” (Genesis 1:14 ESV)

The spring equinox occurs around March 20th-21st each year. The spring equinox is when day and night are equal length. It is an astronomical event that lines up with Passover and signals the turning of winter to spring.

In contrast, January 1st has no astronomical significance. It is not connected to any motions of the sun, moon, or stars. Setting the new year in winter goes against the biblical principle of using the heavens for appointed times and seasons.

Additional evidence comes from Revelation 12 which describes a sign in heaven:

“And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.” (Revelation 12:1-2 ESV)

This astronomical alignment is believed to have occurred in 3 BCE between the Feast of Trumpets and the Feast of Tabernacles. Again, we see an alignment with the biblical Fall feasts, pointing to a spring new year.

No Command About January 1st

Nowhere in Scripture do we find a command to celebrate January 1st as the start of the new year. It was not a date recognized or celebrated in biblical times. Unlike Passover, Rosh Hashanah, and the Feasts, January 1st has no significance in the Bible. It only became New Year’s Day during the Middle Ages when the Gregorian calendar was instituted by Pope Gregory XIII.

For centuries Christianity did not celebrate January 1st as New Year’s, and the date was even banned at certain points due to its pagan roots. The practice gradually became more accepted over time, but Scripture itself does not give January 1st any significance or associate it with the new year. The absence of biblical support for making January 1st the start of the year points to looking elsewhere in Scripture for when the true new year begins.

Spring Aligns With Redemption

Not only does the Hebrew calendar, Feasts, and astronomy point to the spring, the new year lines up with redemption events in Scripture:

  • New Creation – God sets the year to begin around the time of Passover and resurrection. Springtime is when new life buds, aligning with new creation themes.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)

  • New Covenant – Jesus initiated the New Covenant at the Passover feast before His crucifixion and resurrection. Spring marks the redemption of God’s people and the turning of the ages.

“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Luke 22:19-20 ESV)

  • Exodus Redemption – God led Israel out of Egypt in the spring as Scripture records Passover took place at this time. The Exodus shows God powerfully redeeming and delivering His people.

Spring as the start of the year connects to redemption themes in Scripture. In contrast, January 1st has no theological significance and is not tied to any acts of God’s redemption. The biblical evidence for a spring new year better fulfills the redemptive patterns found in Scripture.

Differing Views Among Christians

While biblical evidence favors the spring as the time for the new year, there is still debate among Christians. Here are some alternate views:

  • Fall View – Some believe Rosh Hashanah marks the new year based on references to the “Feast of Trumpets” as the turning of the year (Exodus 23:16, 34:22). But Passover is specifically called the first month which indicates the year starts in spring.
  • Dual Calendar View – Another perspective is God established both a spiritual new year in the spring and a civil new year in the fall. But Scripture does not explicitly command two different new year dates.
  • January 1st Tradition View – Some Christians recognize biblical evidence for a spring new year, but still honor January 1st as the traditional civil new year celebration day. However, Scripture warns about following man-made tradition over God’s commands (Matthew 15:3,9).

While the preponderance of biblical evidence indicates a spring new year, there are still differing opinions within Christianity. This demonstrates the need for wisdom and continued study regarding God’s intended calendar.

More Study Required

The full picture of God’s calendar is complex with room for debate and discussion within orthodox biblical Christianity. Scripture does not command a dogmatic position but provides wisdom for study.

Further study could consider the changes of calendars throughout history, the debate around lunar versus solar years, influences from Babylonian culture, and the current reconciliation of solar and lunar cycles. There are also typological and prophetic patterns to explore regarding appointed times.

As Christians seek to walk in greater light and understanding of God’s intended times and seasons, there is value in discussion and continued biblical learning regarding calendars. But the core biblical evidence favors the spring as the new year according to Scripture.


The strong weight of biblical evidence points to a spring new year, not January 1st. While the modern civil calendar begins on January 1st, Scripture indicates God originally started the year in the spring month of Nisan. The Hebrew calendar, Feasts of the Lord, astronomical events, patterns of redemption, and absence of January 1st in Scripture all support the spring as the biblical new year. However, there is still healthy debate within Christianity on the issue that calls for ongoing study. In the end, God’s people aim to walk in the light of His truth regarding appointed times. Moving forward, may we listen to the full counsel of God’s Word to gain understanding of His calendar.

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