When Scottish New Year was celebrated on March 25

Fireworks above Edinburgh Castle mark the arrival of New Year on January 1. PIC Jane Barlow/TSPL.

Fireworks above Edinburgh Castle mark the arrival of New Year on January 1. PIC Jane Barlow/TSPL.

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It might just feel like another day, but for hundreds of years Scotland was celebrating New Year on March 25.

March 25 marked the start of the new year under the old Julian calendar, with New Year in Scotland not shifting to January 1 until 1599.

With New Year today associated with drinking and feasting, New Year of old was likely to have been a far more sedate affair.

READ MORE: When Scotland and England had different time zones

It was a date for business: for contracts to begin, rents to be paid and obligations to renew, according to historian and writer Rebecca Onion.

The Julian calendar was introduced by Julius Caesar in 46BC and while it observed 12 months and 365 days, it did not account for leap days with the system falling out of step with the solar equinoxes.

The Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII to resolve the weakening link between spring equinox and Easter.

It was a move to shift Britain out of synch with most of the Continent after Europe broadly adopted the Pope’s calendar.

King James VI, via an act of his Privy Council, decided in 1599 that Scotland should come into line with other “well governit commonwealths.”

January 1 was named as the first day of the year.

The Gregorian calendar wasn’t legally adopted across the rest of the country until the Calendar Act of 1751 which was passed following protests from merchants.

The new law set out that Britain and its colonies would adopt the new calendar from 1752.

People rioted, demanding back their 11 days – but some places took advantage of the changes.

In Burghead, Moray, New Year is celebrated twice on January 1 and January 11, when the Burning of the Clavie is still held today.