That being said, most folks and most traditions use the "new moon" as a benchmark for months, and just like our "modern" calender, a new year begins on the first of a new month. Tonight, for those of you with clear skies, the first slim sliver of the moon will be barely visible, chasing the sunset at the end of the day. It may be visible for just 15 minutes, just above the horizon, as you watch the sunset. (Even if you are perfectly happy with the modern calender, this is pretty cool and pretty to see.)
There are some who believe that the "dark moon" is the sign to note, but for those of us who strongly believe that the visible sighting of this moon marks the beginning of a new "Biblical Month", there still remains a controversy. Although this moon should be clearly visible to Americans, in Israel it will remain invisible until TOMORROW night's sunset. So, for those of us who can see it tonight, we are essentially getting a preview of what our brothers in the Holy Land will see 24 hours later.
Again, depending on how certain words are defined in the original Hebrew texts, this particular moon could also mark the beginning of the Biblical Year (Month 1). There are many believers waiting to hear about the "ripeness" of the barley crop on the day the moon is visibly sighted. Depending on that status (click here for the status), tomorrow night (March 6th, 2011) may be the first day of the new year...therefore Passover and the other Spring feasts will start in about two weeks, around the time of this months full moon. Other folks clock the new year based on the position of the Sun in the sky on the day of the new moon (based on the date of the Vernal Equinox). Still others use the stars to make a similar calculation. Except for a tiny minority, tomorrow night's moon remains either the first day of the year, or the first day of the LAST month of the year.
To most "mainstream" Christians, the moon and it's phases seem disconnected from the faith. Watching for the moon, and paying close attention to the stars may even seem akin to astrology or witchcraft. I myself was unaware for most of my early Christian walk that "Easter" is calculated by noting the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox. This calculation is simply using the Pope's calendar instead of YHVH's. Easier, yes...but more Holy? That is for each believer to wrestle with individually (or I suppose one could ignore it rebelliously).
I think that's just about as small of a nutshell that's ever been made for this issue, so...
Happy New Year to many, Happy New Month to many others, and Happy pretty sunset to the rest.