Holiday Facts

Interesting New Year Facts

 

Happy New Year

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.

 

In Belgium, farmers are used to wish “Happy New Year!” to their animals in order to make sure that everything will work great in the new year.
Every Brazilian who wears white clothes on New Year's Eve will have a peaceful and successful year. Those who live next to the beach use to jump seven times into the waves, after midnight, and throw flowers in the water, while making a wish. It is said that this thing brings wealth.
The New Year in China, “Yuan Ti”, is celebrated on January 17 and February 19. One of the most interesting manifestations is the Lantern Festival, in the 15th day of the new year, when thousands of lanterns lightened will illuminate the path towards the new year.

 

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.

 

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In Spain, the tradition says that exactly at midnight one should eat 12 grapes for each chime of the clock. The 12 grapes symbolize the months of the year and it is said to bring good luck and success in the new year.
In Japan, Buddhist temples ring their bells 108 times. This tradition is called 'joya no kane' which means “bell rings on new year eve's night.” The rings represent 108 sins, which is said people have in their mind and can commit. Listening to the 108 rings, the soul purifies.
In Sri Lanka, New Year's Eve is celebrated on April 13 or 14, based on the Hindu calendar. Sinhalese get their houses whitewashed and thoroughly cleaned to welcome the New Year. They light and decorate the house on the New Year's day as it is thought to be inauspicious decorating it before the New Year. Moreover, they prepare different sweets. The first dish they eat, which is also an old tradition of preparing Kiri Bhaat (milk rice) with rice from new crop. This is prepared by the father or the male head of the family.

 


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."

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