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Thursday, 8 September 2016

New Year


It is believed that celebrating the New Year dates back to the ancient Babylonians, who celebrated for eleven days with festivals and other fanfare 4,000 years ago.

The Babylonians also made New Year's Resolutions. They were spoken as oaths to the king—keeping them allowed the kingdom to stay in the gods' favor.

Ancient Persians gave decorated eggs as a gift on New Year's. The eggs symbolized productiveness.

Using a baby to signify the New Year began in Greece around 600 B.C.

Roman dates were customarily kept according to the names of the two consuls who took office that year, much like a regnal year in a monarchy. From 153 BC onwards the consuls begin their year in office on January 1st.

The Julian calendar took effect as the civil calendar of the Roman Empire in 46BC, establishing January 1 as the start of the new year.

The Romans began a tradition of exchanging gifts on New Year's Eve, by giving one another branches from sacred trees, for good fortune.

In 567 AD the Council of Tours abolished January 1 as the beginning of the year. At various times and in various places throughout medieval Christian Europe, the New Year was celebrated on Christmas Day, March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation; and Easter.

The first territories in the world to adapt January 1 as the standard start of the New Year were Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus, which did so in 1362.

January 1 was revived as New Year in 1582, by the Gregorian calendar and so celebrated by most of the Catholic countries on that date.

In Christendom, under which the Gregorian Calendar developed, New Year's Day traditionally marks the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ, which is still observed as such by the Anglican Church and the Lutheran Church.

Samuel Pepys made a New Year resolution on New Year's Eve 1661 to "abstain from plays and wine." (It didn't work out.)

March 25th was the official New Year's Day in the UK and US until they switched to the Gregorian calendar in 1752.


The first New Year's Eve celebration was held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in New York City on December 31, 1907. The Time Square New Year's Eve Ball came about as a result of a ban on fireworks.

For the first time that year, a ball was dropped in New York City's Times Square to signify the start of the New Year at midnight in 1908.

The original ball was made of iron and wood. It weighed 700 pounds and was illuminated by one hundred 25-watt light bulbs.

Due to wartime restrictions, the New Year's Eve ball was not lowered in 1942 and 1943.

Today, the round ball designed by Waterford Crystal, weighs 11,875-pounds, is 12 feet in diameter and is bedazzled with 2,668 Waterford crystals.

The 2008 ball (on display at Times Square Visitors Center)

The top three destinations in the United States to ring in the New Year are Las Vegas, Disney World and New York City.


Over two million people gather on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro on the night of December 31, making of it the world's largest New Year's Eve party.

New Year's Eve celebration in Copacabana, Rio. By Porto Bay Hotels & Resorts

In Colombia, Cuba and Puerto Rico families stuff a life-size male doll called Mr. Old Year with memories of the outgoing year and dress him in old clothes from each family member. At midnight he is set on fire - thus burning away the bad memories of the year.

The Chinese New Year is celebrated on the first day of the lunar calendar and is corrected for the solar every three years. The holiday normally falls between January 20 and February 20. Lion and dragon dances, drums, fireworks, firecrackers, and other types of entertainment fill the streets on this day.

In Italy, children receive gifts or money on New Year's Day.

New Year is a way bigger deal than Christmas in Russia. In fact, gifts are exchanged there at midnight on New Year's, rather than on Christmas Day.

People in Estonia eat seven to twelve New Year's Day meals to attain the strength of seven to twelve men.

Nyepi is a day of silence celebrated every Balinese New Year. Security men walk the streets silencing everyone in order to fool evil spirits that all the people have left.

The city of Sydney in Australia marks the biggest celebrations of New Year, as more than 80,000 fireworks are set off from Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Sydney contributes to some of the major New Year celebrations each year.

In Germany, New Year revelers pour hot metal into bowls of cold water. The shape it forms dictates the kind of year they're going to have.

Rosh Hashanah is the traditional Jewish New Year with apples and honey being a favored dish.


Due to their time zones, Kiribati is the first country to ring in the New Year, while Honolulu, Hawaii in the U.S. is among the last.

According to statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, more vehicles are stolen on New Year's Day than on any other holiday throughout the year.

On New Year's Eve 2014, 835 of 1000 police officers meant to be on duty in Rome phoned in sick.


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