Being well known as a self-described Mr.Knowitall means I get asked a lot of questions. The answers I give can be divided into three categories: the correct answer if I know it, an answer I make up to keep my Knowitall membership card, and the things that I can't make up a plausible answer for. So, here are some answers to my lovely girlfriends questions during a recent holiday road trip.
The start of the year on January 1st goes back to the Romans. This was carried forward in the reorganization of Roman dating which became the Julian calendar in 45 BC. Jan 1st was New Year's Day in all of the Roman empire and later all of christendom. Even though the first of January was New Year's Day, some countries continued using other dates to roll over the year. England celebrated Jan 1st, but did not change it's year number until March 25. England officially changed this in 1752, with its adoption of the Gregorian calendar.
The Chinese New Year is not a fixed date but a celebration starting on the first day of the first lunar month through the 15th (15th of the Gregorian month, usually January or February).