What says "New Year's Eve" celebration to you? Is it a quiet evening at home with your family, heading out on the town, or attending a private party? Whatever your style of celebrating the close of the old year and beginning of the new, there are some traditions that are carried into almost all celebrations.
The ball drop
New York city is the most famous site for this.
At most every event there will be a telecast of this famous event, at least at the countdown. How did this get started? The year of 1907 was the first year the ball was dropped in Times Square, according to NYE History and Times Square Ball.
It has been dropped every year since then, except for wartime years when blackouts were needed. Celebrations of New Year's Eve actually started in 1904 in Times Square, but consisted of fireworks. Fireworks were banned because of the danger of fire in the crowded metropolitan area, and the tradition of the ball drop was started.
The Times Square drop is not the only one. Port Clinton, Ohio has a walleye drop. They drop a 20-foot, 600-pound Walleye from the sky. Tallapoosa, Georgia has the annual possum drop. The peach drop is the tradition in Atlanta, Georgia. The Times Square ball drop is by far the most famous, but many towns across the US have adopted their unique spin on this tradition. So, if you can't or don't want to attend the New York City celebration find out what is being dropped in your area to celebrate the New Year.
Music and Entertainment
Wherever you go to watch the countdown of the New Year, there is sure to be entertainment, anywhere from nationally known musicians to local favorites will be present to rock in the New Year.
Traditionally they perform in the hours leading up to the big event of the countdown. Along with music, don't forget the singing of "Auld Lang Syne". The title roughly translates to "old long since" or "times gone by". The singing of this song has been a tradition in the US since 1939 when Guy Lombardo and his orchestra brought it to the US as a traditional song to sing after the ball drop. However, it is a traditional Scottish song written by Rabbie Burns in 1788. It was sung in other parts of the world since then.
Traditionally, New Year's Eve would be a time to bring out the tux or suit for men, and ladies would dress in their finest evening wear. Some of that has been lost to more casual family events. However, silly party hats, glasses, and other paraphilia sporting the number of the new year are prevalent.
From party noisemaker toys to fireworks, to shotguns shot in the air, car horns, and church bells are all traditional noises used to celebrate the upcoming new year. Right along with noise is the traditional tossing of tinsel or confetti.
At the stroke of midnight, a New Year's kiss is in order. The tradition is as the saying goes, "Kiss the person you hope to keep kissing." Just FYI be sure to kiss the right person, or your new year may not be so blissful.
Uncorking the bubbly
Uncorking champagne and then toasting in the New Year is an important tradition. Some may prefer to use sparkling wine. The traditional beverage may be wassail, a "hot pint" or mulled wine, depending on where you are or the ethnicity of the person.
New Year's Resolutions
The new year is a time of reflecting on the old, and looking forward to a new start. This is a good time to make a resolution, or promise to yourself to do better, or change an area of your life. Sometimes these resolutions are very open but sometimes kept private.
Eating a New Years Day Meal
In the South, a traditional New Years day meal would include black-eyed peas, pork, collard greens, and cornbread. The peas represent good luck, pork is associated with prosperity, greens represent money, specifically paper money, and the cornbread is representative of gold. Eating this meal is a tradition with the purpose of bringing in a prosperous new year. There are variations on this. In the North, the collard greens are most likely going to be substituted by sauerkraut.
What are your traditions? Do you keep these traditions, or does your family have others to add to the list? Whatever they are, the most important is that you have a safe and happy New Year, for you and your loved ones.
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