Interesting New Year Facts
Probably the most famous tradition in the United States is the dropping of the New Year ball in Times Square, New York City, at 11:59 P.M. Thousands gather to watch the ball make its one-minute descent, arriving exactly at midnight. The tradition first began in 1907. The original ball was made of iron and wood and weighed 700 pounds; the current ball is made of Waterford Crystal, weighs 1,070 pounds, and is six feet in diameter. There are over 9,000 LED lights, but uses hardly any energy. The ball was not lowered in 1942 and 1943 due to wartime restrictions.
New Year is the oldest of all holidays, as it was first observed in ancient Babylon as many as 4000 years ago.
Celebrating New Year on January 1 is purely arbitrary, as neither it has agricultural significance nor astronomical. Many countries still celebrate it in spring, the season of rebirth of new crops.
The Roman senate declared January 1 as the New Year in 153 BC. Though even this date saw major tampering, it was Julius Caesar who again declared January 1 in Julian calendar as the New Year, in 46 BC.
New Years is still observed as the Feast of Christ's Circumcision by some denominations.
In various South American countries like Bolivia, Ecuador or Brazil, there is this tradition that has to due with yellow underwear. This means that you have to wear it immediately after midnight as it seems that yellow brings good luck. All women in Mexico who want to find their love in the new year have to wear red underwear.
In Denmark, it is a good sign when you find broken dishes in front of your door. Danish people specially keep a few plates that they break on New Year's Eve at their friends' doors. However, the tradition is no longer used.
In a small town in Chile, called Talca, visiting the graves of your dead relatives already became a tradition. On December 31, after dinner, a few members of the same family go to the cemetery, taking chairs and once they get there, they sit down and welcome the new year with all the dear ones that passed away. It is said that this tradition brings good luck. The tradition began in 1995 and now over 5,000 people have adopted it.
The first month of the year i.e. January has been named after God Janus (Latin word for door), in the Roman calendar. Janus is the God with two faces, one looking backwards and one forward, at the same time and marks the ‘spirit of the opening’
The Romans began a tradition of exchanging gifts on New Year's Eve, by giving one another branches from sacred trees, for good fortune. The gift phenomenon is prevalent from those times, till date.
January 1 was revived as New Year in 1582, by the Gregorian calendar and so celebrated by most of the countries till date.
New Year is celebrated like a festival throughout the world and everyone around is in festive mood, partying, singing and dancing to ring out the old year and ring in the new.
In Britain, when the Big Ben clocks strikes 12, everyone gathers around to sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’, a Scottish song. It was written by Robert Burns in the 1700's, literally meaning "old long ago," or simply, "the good old days", to remember old and new friends.
It was once believed that the first visitor on New Year's Day would bring either good luck or bad luck for the rest of the year, depending on who he/she was.
Many cultures believe that anything given or taken on New Year, in the shape of a ring is good luck, because it symbolizes "coming full circle".
Many parts of the U.S. celebrate New Year by consuming black-eyed peas and other legumes, as it has been considered good luck in many cultures.
The tradition of making New Year resolution dates back to the early Babylonians.
People in Ecuador are used to make a scarecrow, which they dress up and fill it with newspapers and pieces of wood. At midnight, each family walks outside and burns the scarecrow. The tradition says that this destroys all the bad things that took place in the last 12 months and the new year can begin.
Traditionally, it was thought that people could alter the luck they would have throughout the coming year by what they did or ate on the first day of the year. It has, therefore, become important to celebrate first day of the New Year in the company of family and friends.
The Spanish ritual on New Year's eve is to eat twelve grapes at midnight. The tradition is meant to secure twelve happy months in the coming year.
Who would be the first person to pass over the threshold of your home in the New Year? In England, one of the most interesting traditions is related to this specific aspect. English people believe that if the first guest is a tall man with dark hair, the new year will be full of happiness and achievements.
Noisemaking and fireworks on New Year's Eve is believed to have originated in ancient times, when noise and fire were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck.
Auld Lang Syne is sung at midnight to toast in the New Year. The song was composed by Robert Burns sometimes in the 1700's. The term means "old long ago" or "the good old days."