When was the Scottish New Year? Some unresolved problems with the ‘Mos Gallicanus’, or French style, in the mid-sixteenth century


  • Elizabeth Bonner


In 1600 the 1st of January was ordained as the first day of the New Year in Scotland. By this ordinance the Kingdom of Scotland joined the great majority of Western European kingdoms, states and territories who had, at various times during the sixteenth century, rationalized the reckoning of Time by declaring the 1st January as New Year’s Day.2 This article will examine, very briefly, the long history of the reckoning of Time as calculated in ancient western civilizations. During the sixteenth century, however, these calcula-tions were rationalised in the culmination of the political and religious upheavals of the Renaissance and Reformations in Western Europe. In Scotland, for a brief period under the influence of the French government from 1554 to 1560 during the Regency of Marie de Guise-Lorraine,3 and from 1561 to 1567 during the personal reign of her daughter Mary Queen of Scots, the mos Gallicanus, which recognised Easter Sunday as the first day of the New Year, was used in a great number of French official state documents, dispatches and correspondence.