This day is traditionally a religious feast, but since the 1900s, has become an occasion for celebration on the night between December 31 and January 1, called New Year's Eve. There are often fireworks at midnight. Depending on the country, individuals may be allowed to burn fireworks, even if it is forbidden the rest of the year.
It is also an occasion to make New Year resolutions, which they hope to fulfill in the coming Year; the most popular ones in the western world include to stop tobacco smoking or drinking, or to lose weight or get physically fit.
In all countries that use the Gregorian calendar, with the exception of Israel, New Year's Day is a public holiday. For many of those countries, if January 1 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then the Friday before or the Monday after will be a public holiday. The official reason that it is not a public holiday in Israel is due to the day's historic origins as a Christian religious holiday, although many other nations with non-Christian majorities have a public January 1 holiday.
In the Middle Ages, most European countries used the Julian calendar, but a variety of dates were used as the first day of the year. The adoption of the Gregorian calendar led eventually to the adoption of January 1 as New Year's Day in all countries using that calendar.