Celebrating the new year is biblical, but how you celebrate might not be. The nation of Israel celebrated their new year's day every year, and they did so in the way God prescribed. As we all know, many of today's New Year's Eve celebrations are far from being biblical. We'll address the unbiblical parties, but before we do let's take a look at God's prescription for how His people were to celebrate the first day of a new year.
New Year's Day in the Bible
While our new year begins on January 1, in the Bible the new year for the nation of Israel began in the autumn, in the month of Tishri, which is the first month of the civil calendar and the seventh month of the religious calendar.
"Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD." (Leviticus 23:24-25)
Jewish tradition claims that this is the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, but remember that is just tradition. That is not recorded in the Bible. The biblical name for the day of the Jewish New Year is Yom Teruah, which literally means day of shouting or raising a noise. Yom Teruah begins the fall festival of the Feast of Trumpets and it is a High Holy Day. This day is more commonly called Rosh Hashanah, which literally means, "head of the year." You won't find "Rosh Hashanah" in the Bible in reference to the fall feast, because it derives from the Mishna, a Rabbinic writing of oral traditions that is often called the Oral Torah.
The Book of Leviticus is clear that the first day of the new year is to be a day of rest and a day of sounding the trumpet. As a High Holy Day it would have been a time of resting in the Lord and remembering what He had done for them. Sadly most of our New Year's Eve and New Year's Day celebrations have little to do with resting or remembering Jesus. From New Year's Eve "bashes" of food and drink to New Year's Day unending football parties, with more food and drink, contemporary New Year's celebrations center more around friends, fun, food and partying than they do on thinking about Jesus and resting.