Happy New Year

By | Dec 31, 2011

The celebration of the New Year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon 4000 years ago. The Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon after the first day of spring. The Romans in 153 BC established January 1 as the beginning of the New Year.

The Greeks introduced the tradition of a baby to symbolize the rebirth of the god of fertility Dionysus. Early Christians denounced the practice as pagan, but due to its popularity as a new birth they reevaluate their view and allowed members to celebrate the New Year with a baby that symbolized the birth of Jesus.

The Tournament of Roses Parade, in Pasadena, California began in 1886 when members of the Valley Hunt Club decorated their carriages with flowers to celebrate the ripening of the orange crop. The Rose Bowl football game began as the sports centerpiece of the festival in 1916, although a game had been played on that day in 1902.

The song ‘Auld Lang Syne’, which is sung at midnight of New Years eve in almost every English-speaking country was written by Robert Burns in the 1700’s. It was first published after his death in 1796. The music came from an old Scotch tune. ‘Auld Lang Syne’ means ‘old long since’. In the United States the most popular version is by Bandleader Guy Lombardo, who ushered in the New Year with the song on radio and the early days of television, following a tradition he started at a New Year’s eve party at New York’s Roosevelt Hotel in 1929. He played it every New Year’s eve until his death in 1976.

The watching the ball drop on New Year’s eve at New York’s Times Square began in 1907. The original ball was made of wood and iron. The current ball is of Waterford crystal and weighs 1,070 pounds and is six feet in diameter.

January 1st is ushered in first at Kiritimati on the Christmas Islands, in Kiribati. Not all cultures celebrate January 1st as the beginning of the New Year. The Chinese New Year begins on the new moon of the first lunar month which falls between January 21 and February 21. The Jewish New Year begins on Rosh Hashanah, ‘head of the year’. The Iranian New Year is the moment of the vernal equinox in March or when spring begins.


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