New Year, Old Rule About Capitalization and the Apostrophe

Every time another new year rolls around, it becomes clear that people need a refresher on how to write references to the day.

As we begin a new year, consider this your grammatical reminder about the holiday itself.

Let’s begin with the apostrophe. You need one.

It’s the first day of the coming year. The day belongs to the year that has just begun, so it’s a singular day.

So January 1st is New Year’s Day.

Don’t write it without the apostrophe and be sure not to put the apostrophe after that little S.

You’ll also notice that it’s capitalized. That’s because it’s a specific day and is considered a proper noun.

That also goes for the day before.

So December 31st of every year is New Year’s Eve.

If you’re the type who make those silly little promises to yourself about things you will or won’t do in the coming year, they’re New Year’s resolutions. (The R doesn’t have to be capitalized.)

The same rule of capitalization applies if you’re talking about attending a party or even a brunch.

So ponder these little grammatical rules while you’re enjoying the famous meal with the curious combination of black-eyed peas and collard greens. They mean different things to different people, of course. I grew up with collard greens standing for money while black-eyed peas meant health. For others, the pork often eaten with the peas means health and the black-eyed peas mean coins.

But I figure as long as you eat them, you’re covered.

By the way, January 1st is one of several holidays being celebrated within days of some other big ones, like Christmas and Hanukkah. When you wish someone “Happy Holidays,” January 1st, whether you think about it or not, is generally included in the sentiment.

Since it’s the first day of the year, it’s also the first official holiday of the year.

And many of us will wake up every January 1st to a neighborhood cluttered with debris from fireworks. That’s despite the fact that not everyone (of the two or four-legged variety) appreciates the noisemakers.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.