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March 25? Happy Colonial New Year!

What a radical calendar overhaul revealed about America

This March 25 will likely pass quietly, another chilly Tuesday in early spring. But in the Boston of 300 years ago, the day would have been very noteworthy indeed: It marked the start of the new calendar year.

The Colonists, as Britain had for centuries, celebrated the change of the year in late March—the Feast of the Annunciation, or Lady Day. Rents were due, contracts began, and obligations renewed on March 25, the “New Year.”

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