20 Facts About New Year’s That You Probably Didn’t Know

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The New Year is quickly approaching, while waiting, check out these 20 Facts About New Year’s That You Probably Didn’t Know. Share the knowledge you learn with your family and friends — and have a very happy new year!

  • The Gregorian calendar, which marks January 1 as the new year, is adopted by the Roman Catholic Church. January is named after Janus, the god with two faces, one looking forward and one looking backward.
  • The earliest recording of a new year celebration is believed to have been in Mesopotamia, c. 2000 B.C.and was celebrated around the time of the vernal equinox, in mid-March.
  • Most New Year’s traditions are believed to ensure good luck for the coming year. Many parts of the United States observe the tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck.
  • The first ball dropping celebration atop One Times Square was held on December 31, 1907.
  • The original New Year’s Eve Ball weighed 700 pounds and was five feet in diameter. It was made of iron and wood and was decorated with 100 25-watt light bulbs.
  • New Year’s Day is probably the most celebrated public holiday, often observed with fireworks at the stroke of midnight.
  • The New Year’s kiss started with the Romans.
  • Each New Year’s Eve 1 million people gather in New York City’s Times Square to watch famous ball drop.
  • 1 billion people from around the world will watch the ball drop on TV.
  • Mexicans celebrate New Year’s Eve, by eating a grape with each of the twelve chimes of a clock’s bell during the midnight countdown, while making a wish with each one.
  • There is a music festival every New Year’s eve in the Antarctic called ‘Icestock’
  • Robert Burns took a Scottish folk song called “Old Long Syne” and put his own spin on it in 1788, which is the version we all know today. Auld lang syne means “times long past.”
  • The annual tradition of gathering in Times Square for New Year’s started as a party to celebrate the opening of the New York Times building in 1904. Over 200,000 people attended.
  • Hershey, PA drops a giant Kiss to ring in the new year.
  • Americans drink around 360 million glasses of sparkling wine on New Year’s.
  • There’s a local tradition called Namahage in Akita, Japan where grown men dress up like demons to scare children into behaving for their parents. They go from house to house yelling things like “Are naughty kids around?”
  •  In most states, AAA offers free rides home to people who’ve had one too many drinks to drive New Year’s night.
  • Samoa, Tonga and Kiritimati (Christmas Island), part of Kiribati, are the first places to welcome the New Year while American Samoa and Baker Island in the United States of America are among the last.
  • The tradition of using a baby to signify the new year was begun in Greece around 600 BC. It was their tradition at that time to celebrate their god of wine, Dionysus, by parading a baby in a basket, representing the annual rebirth of that god as the spirit of fertility.
  • While nearly half of all Americans make resolutions, 25 percent of them give up on their resolutions by the second week of January.

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