The New Year is welcomed by different peoples on different days. Most Indian calendars herald the New Year in mid April. In 153 BC the Roman senate, while regularising the Roman calendar, declared January 1st as New Year's Day. But their festivities on the day were frowned upon by the Church as pagan, in the Middle Ages. Only in the last four hundred years, with the acceptance of the Gregorian or the "English" calendar has the New Year's Day gained this festive status. New Year's Day is observed as the Feast of Christ's circumcision by some religious groups.
1st January 2000 began the International Year for the Culture of Peace and the International Year of Thanksgiving. UNESCO, which has proposed this year's themes hopes to initiate programmes that increase respect for cultural diversity and tolerance.