Interesting Facts About New Year’s Celebrations
New Year’s is approaching, a time when millions of people will celebrate with food, new resolutions or a even kiss as the clock strikes 12. But how much do you know about the holiday? Here are Fun Facts about American celebrations and celebrations around the World.
- The first New Year’s celebration dates back 4,000 years. Julius Caesar, the emperor of Rome, was the first to declare Jan. 1 a national holiday. He named the month after Janus, the Roman god of doors and gates. Janus had two faces, one looking forward and one looking back. Caesar felt that a month named after this god would be fitting.
- Forty-five percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. The top resolutions are: to lose weight, get organized, to spend less and save more, to stay fit and healthy, and to quit smoking. While nearly half of all Americans make resolutions, 25 percent of them give up on their resolutions by the second week of January.
- Be sure to eat leafy greens on New Year’s. Tradition says that the more leafy greens a person eats, the more prosperity he or she will experience (what an incentive for staying healthy!). Tradition also says that legumes bring prosperity because beans and peas look like coins. No wonder why so many people eat black-eyed peas on Jan. 1.
- Many people ring in New Year’s by popping open a bottle of champagne. Americans drink close to 360 million glasses of sparkling wine during this time. The bubbly stuff dates back to the 17th century when the cork was invented.
- About 1 million people gather in New York City’s Times Square to watch the ball drop. The Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop came about because of a ban on fireworks. The first ball in 1907 was 700 pounds and was lit with 100 25-watt lights. The current ball puts the old one to shame (thanks to technology). Today, it is covered in 2,688 crystals, is lit by 32,000 LED lights, weighs 11,875 pounds and is 12 feet in diameter.
- Remember the last scene in When Harry Met Sally, when Harry references a song after he and Sally kiss? It was Auld Lang Syne, a song traditionally sung at the end of New Year’s parties. Poet Robert Burns wrote it in 1788. Though most people do not know the words to Auld Lang Syne, the overall message is that people have to remember their loved ones, dead or alive, and keep them close to their hearts.
- If Santa is the most common symbol associated with Christmas, then Baby New Year is the symbol most commonly associated with….you guessed it, New Year’s! Baby New Year is often seen in a diaper, black top hat, and a sash showing the numbers of the new year. The myth states that he matures into an old man during the year.
- Make sure to be surrounded by family or loved ones on New Year’s Eve. The first person you come across in the new year could set the tone for the next 12 months. This applies to couples, as well. If a couple celebrating New Year’s together does not kiss, the future of the relationship might be splitsville, so be sure to lay one on your significant other.
- At the Mummers Parade in Philadelphia, 10,000 participants step through City Hall and perform in unique costumes. The parade dates back to mid-17th-century, incorporating elements from Irish, German, English, Swedish and other European heritages. The parade itself is divided into five divisions: a comic division, wench brigades, fancy division, string bands, and fancy bridges. If you are in the area for New Year’s, be sure to check out this event.
- According to statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, vehicles are stolen on New Year’s Day more than any other holiday. Don’t think your old car is safe, either. In 2011, the 1994 Honda Accord was the most stolen car. To discourage car theft, make sure your car is in a populated area and always take your keys.
Times Square-Interesting Facts About New Year
1. Some people wear adult diapers while celebrating New Year at Time Square due to the lack of toilets.
2. Ethiopia has 13 months. Their current year is still 2006 and they celebrate New Years on September 11.
3. Until 2006, the Space Shuttle never flew on New Year’s day or Eve because its computers couldn’t handle a year rollover.
4. In an effort to reduce drunk driving, every New Year’s Eve the AAA will tow your car and give you a lift home for free, even if you’re not a member (not available in all states)
5. Beethoven’s 9th Symphony was introduced to Japan by German POWs in WWI (who played it for them), and it is now a national tradition to perform it every New Year’s2.
New Year Tree Russia-Interesting Facts About New Year
6. When religion was suppressed in Soviet Russia, Santa/St. Nick was replaced with Grandfather Frost, called the spirit of winter, who brought gifts on New Year’s and placed them under the “New Year tree”
7. In Korea and some other Asian countries, when you are born, you are considered one year old and everyone’s age increases one year on New Year’s. So if you were born on December 29th, on New Year’s day, you will be considered 2 years old.
8. In 2010, a “Black Widow” suicide bomber planned a terrorist attack in central Moscow on New Year’s Eve, but was killed when a spam message from her mobile phone operator wishing her a happy new year received just hours before the planned attack triggered her suicide belt, killing her, but nobody else.
9. On New Year’s Day in 1976, a man named Danny Finegood changed the Hollywood sign to “Hollyweed” as a college prank in order to celebrate the decriminalization of marijuana and got an “A” for it.
10. The ancient Hawaiian New Year was four months long, the war was forbidden, people stopped working, and the people spent time dancing, feasting and having a good time.
Icestock-Interesting Facts About New Year
11. There is a music festival every New Year’s Eve in the Antarctic called ‘icestock’
12. In Thailand, they celebrate their traditional New Year’s Day with a state-sponsored multiple day water fight.
13. Prior to 1753, Britain and its possessions celebrated the New Year on March 25 (Annunciation Day). Furthermore, 1752 only lasted nine months, as the dates from 01/01 to 03/24 (as well as September 3 to 13) were skipped in order for 1753 to begin on 01/01 like in other countries.
14. Russians celebrate the New Year twice, once on January 1st and then again on January 14th.
15. On New Year’s Day in Akita, Japan there is a tradition where men dress as mountain demons, get drunk, and terrorize children for being lazy or disobeying their parents.
Takanakuy-Interesting Facts About New Year
16. Every December 25th a town in Peru celebrates “Takanakuy”. Men, women, and children settle grudges with fistfights. Then everyone goes drinking together, ready to start the New Year with a clean slate.
17. Instead of lowering a giant ball of lights on New Year’s Eve, Brasstown, North Carolina lowers a possum. It’s known as “The Possum Drop”
18. There are only 14 possible calendars. In 2014, you can re-use calendars from these years: 2003, 1997, 1986, 1975, 1969, 1958, 1947, 1941, 1930, and 1919.
19. After the French revolution, France briefly used a new calendar based on a decimal system; 10 days a week, 10 hours a day, 100 minutes per hour and 100 seconds per minute, and starting at Year 1.
20. North Korea does not use the normal Gregorian calendar like most of the world. Instead it uses a different calendar system called the Juche calendar for numbering the years and year one of this calendar began on Kim Il Sung’s (The foun1der of North Korea) birthday.
Hogmanay-Interesting Facts About New Year
21. Hogmanay is the term for New Year’s Eve in Scotland. In a place called Stonehaven, it is honored through fireballs swinging and first-footing into a friend or neighbor’s threshold.
22. There is a 1000-year-long song in the making known as “Longplayer.” The song began on Jan. 1, 2000 and will continue until Dec. 31, 2999, where it will come back to the starting point of the song and begin again.
23. On New Year’s Eve, residents in a small neighborhood in Johannesburg, South Africa collect old appliances, carry them up to apartment building rooftops and toss them down to the streets far below.
24. The Reykjavik (capital of Iceland) fireworks display on New Year’s Eve is one of the largest in the world, and most fireworks sales fund rescue operations in the country.
25. Since New Year’s Eve 2008, the city of Mobile, Alabama raises a 12 foot tall lighted mechanical Moon Pie to celebrate the coming of the New Year.