The early Roman calendar designated March 1 as the first day of the year.The calendar had just ten months, beginning with March.
In some cases publications may set their entire year work alight in hope that the smoke emitted from the flame brings new life to the company.
Among the 7th-century pagans of Flanders and the Netherlands, it was the custom to exchange gifts on the first day of the new year.
This custom was deplored by Saint Eligius (died 659 or 660), who warned the Flemish and Dutch: "(Do not) make vetulas, [little figures of the Old Woman], little deer or iotticos or set tables [for the house-elf, compare Puck] at night or exchange New Year gifts or supply superfluous drinks [another Yule custom]." However, on the date that European Christians celebrated the New Year, they exchanged Christmas presents because New Year's Day fell within the twelve days of the Christmas season in the Western Christian liturgical calendar; Because of the leap year error in the Julian calendar, the date of Easter had drifted backward since the First Council of Nicaea decided the computation of the date of Easter in 325.
The Gregorian calendar reform also (in effect) restored January 1 as New Year's Day.
Although most Catholic countries adopted the Gregorian calendar almost immediately, it was only gradually adopted among Protestant countries.