March 25th -- Happy New Year!!

posted Mar 25, 2010, 1:52 AM by Professor Katz   [ updated Mar 25, 2010, 2:22 AM ]

Today is March 25th, the Feast of the Annunciation, the day on which the Incarnation of Christ is held to have taken place, exactly nine months before Christmas.

As you will remember, Matthew tells us that an unnamed angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and gave him the good news.  According to Luke it was the Angel Gabriel who appeared to Mary herself.  When informed of the great event, her reply was 'be it unto me according to thy word', or as most people including Paul McCartney say, 'Let it be'.

Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), 'The Cestello Annunciation', c.1489, tempera on panel, 150 x 156cm, Uffizi, Florence

Neither Mark nor John make mention of a virgin birth.  In fact, the word 'virgin' doesn't even appear in their gospels.  Neither does Paul say anything about it.

March 25th was the first day of Spring in the old Julian calendar, and was the first day of the new year in many countries until they switched to the new Gregorian calendar.  So this means that in England, it was Happy New Year on March 25th until 1752.

So let's go retro and say today, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!