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Happy New Tax Year!Merry new…cycle perhaps? Oh. Whatever. Go ahead and celebrate as you please. It's not like January 1st makes any more sense than March 14 (according to the Sikh Nanakshahi calendar) or June 22nd (according to the people of Kutch) or September 23rd (according to the French Revolutionary Calendar). But why stop there? We could, you know, make it a variable day changing from year to year as in the Muslim calendar. But noooooo. We had to go with  January 1st, because, you know, January 1st is clearly soooooo much better and superior than any other day, because you know, because of … stuff. Obviously.

No. Not obviously and no, we don't know. If we track back into history and ask why is that January 1st was selected as the beginning of the New Year, we need to look as far as 153 BC in the Roman Empire some 2150+ years ago (yeah, we are too lazy to do the exact math). This was the day those selected to hold public office assumed their official position. In other words, January 1st is a celebration of… insert suspense music here… bureaucracy!

And who imposed this celebration of bureaucratic power? More suspense music please…governments!

The origins of calendars can be traced back further millennia to a very practical need: to be able to forecast the weather in the form of seasons. This was critically important for agriculture. Over time, religious bureaucrats (i.e. priests) added religious significance to certain dates. This was allowed and even desired by people because of superstition needs. You see dear reader, we are all hardwired to try to recognize patterns. Pattern recognition is a critical survival skill. We need to know immediately if a shadow in the night is a cougar or a rock. And so our brains work hard to do just that. But with seemingly random events (a forest fire, a tornado, an eclipse, a premature freeze, an accident and many others) our brains could not do that. And so our brains invented "something" out there that was doing all of this. This "something" was some sort of supernatural beings that needed appeasement to be in their "good" side. And so superstition was born. Over time it developed into religion. And so at the time we needed to have "good" superstitions in order to "ensure" a good harvest or else we would all die of hunger. These were as high as stakes could get.

Over time, priests (which were doing nothing of practical use and had time to spare), began to take over calendars. And why not? Everybody else was too busy trying to prosper. This is the humble beginning of bureaucracies taking over calendars. Eventually and over time, as government bureaucracies grew in significance, they took over calendar management duties from the priests. They did so because they needed a way to standardize tasks, as there was nothing more important than taxation. If there was something that absolutely had to be gotten right it was taxes. They fully understood that their privileges (and they had plenty - search for example "Vizier (Ancient Egypt) in Wikipedia) depended upon their capacity to collect taxes.

Taxes were collected as far back as we have written history of some kind. Already in 2500 BC in Sumeria (some 5000+ years ago) taxes were collected, but at least they were not politically correct; they called them by their real name, they called them "burden".

As you can see dear reader, calendars were developed with the purpose of helping people to become wealthier and in so doing increasing everybody's standards of living. However, since early time, these calendars were taken over by government bureaucrats who perverted their original meaning by using them for an oppressive task: taxation.

And so we arrive at modern democracies where we celebrate the new year on January 1st (mostly) because, you know, being taxed is such a joy.

But then again, you believe governments are necessary. That's OK. That's your right. Now go ahead, make your day. Celebrate a new taxation year! You deserve it.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

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