A cross-cultural celebration rings in the next calendar year
New Year’s not only heralds the start of a new calendar year, it also is a time of hope and promise. As many across the world make resolutions and set their sights on a better tomorrow, the joy of new beginnings rings out in celebration around the globe. Here are a few facts about this festive holiday.
Perhaps the best known New Year’s Eve celebration on the globe is the one that takes place in Times Square in New York City. The dropping of the lighted crystal “ball” in Times Square is witnessed live by more than one million people each year, who crowd the city streets to be a part of one of the biggest parties in the world. It is also watched on television by almost a billion viewers worldwide.
A kiss at the stroke of midnight
It is a time-honored tradition that people have a special kiss right at the stroke of midnight. Statistics show that a full 44 percent of Americans say they expect to kiss someone at the turn of the new year. Sadly, another 22 percent of Americans will never get that kiss; they admit that they always fall asleep before midnight on this special evening.
The history of the day
New Year’s celebrations actually date back more than 4,000 years. Even though we didn’t have the calendar as we know it, the ancient Babylonians celebrated the new year at the first full moon after the spring equinox. In ancient Egypt, the new year began each year when the Nile flooded. A new year on Jan. 1 was first instituted in the western world by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C.
For those making resolutions on New Year’s, there are a few common promises that crop up time and again. Among Americans, 45 percent claim to make a resolution, and most of them are related to weight loss, getting organized, saving money, staying fit or stopping smoking.
Foods of luck
Across the world, many cultures have a tradition of eating certain foods at New Year’s for “good luck.” In Italy, Germany, Ireland and the U.S., people traditionally prepare beans and leafy greens, which are supposed to signify financial success. In Japan, the food of choice is long noodles, which signify hopes of a long life. In The Netherlands, Mexico and Greece, the New Year’s treat consists of a ringed cake or other confection, which signifies that the year has come “full circle.”
Whether you decide to spend this evening every year with a special someone or eating a lucky food in front of the television watching the “ball drop,” it is interesting to consider how this holiday has such an impact on people the world over. No doubt, it is the hope for better times and a bright future that gives it such appeal.
This article is presented by Jack Maxton Chevrolet in Worthington, Ohio