For thousands of years, people have congregated in large groups to celebrate this holiday.
It’s not out of the ordinary to see people gathering at a party or ball to ring in the New Year.
This celebration marks the end of one year and the start of another. Some traditions even involve making predictions for it!
At midnight, everyone is encouraged to write down their resolution.
The resolution is then announced at the end of the party.
Some celebrations involve fireworks, music, and dancing.
- When’s New Year’s Eve?
- How long does New Year’s Eve last?
- Where is New Year’s Eve celebrated?
- History of New Year’s Eve: How Did It Come About?
- How Did the Holiday Start?
- How Has It Evolved?
- New Year’s Eve Traditions
When’s New Year’s Eve?
The holiday takes place on December 31st, the last day of the Gregorian calendar.
It marks the end of one year and the beginning of another.
New Year’s Eve is observed at the end of every year by millions around the world.
How long does New Year’s Eve last?
New Year’s Eve is observed for a full 24 hours.
Most people consume alcoholic beverages at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
It’s important to note that some countries do not celebrate New Year’s Eve.
A common tradition associated with this holiday is the making of new year’s resolutions. This resolution is then announced at the end of the party. Fireworks, music, and dancing are among the few ways people celebrate New Year’s Eve.
Where is New Year’s Eve celebrated?
New Year’s Eve celebrations are conducted almost everywhere in the world. Many religions celebrate New Year’s Eve by gathering in a building for worship, prayer, or contemplation. Countries also have their traditions for celebrating this holiday, including wearing special costumes or outfits.
History of New Year’s Eve: How Did It Come About?
Before we get into the history of New Year’s Eve, you might first want to understand the Gregorian calendar.
For those who don’t know, the Gregorian calendar is an internationally accepted civil calendar. It’s the calendar that most countries use for official business, trade, and travel.
The Gregorian calendar replaced the old Julian one in 1582 due to various factors, including flaws in calculating leap years.
Before 1752, new year’s eve was celebrated on March 25th.
That was determined by adding 11 days to January 1st (the Catholic Church originally celebrated New Year’s Day on March 25th in honour of the Feast of the Annunciation).
However, astronomical observations showed that the vernal equinox took place around March 21st.
That meant that an extra day needed to be added. After much debate, they decided to add this extra day every four years instead of 400 years.
Also, for the calendar to remain consistent, a new calendar was presented, the Gregorian calendar. Pope Gregory XIII had already introduced this new system back in 1582. It just wasn’t official yet.
Today, New Year’s Eve takes place on December 31st in most parts of the world. This holiday marks the end of one year and the start of another. It’s important to note that some countries choose not to participate or celebrate this holiday for various reasons.
How Did the Holiday Start?
The first-ever recorded New Year’s celebration dates back to about 2000 BCE in Mesopotamia.
At this time, the celebrations involved a 365-day calendar and the worship of gods.
The main celebration took place in Babylon back then, where everyone would gather around to light candles and usher in a New Year.
It began with the new moon, after the Spring Equinox, during the month of Nissan (in mid-March).
In the early Roman Calendar, March 1st marked the beginning of the year. There were only ten months in a year.
Lanuarius and Februarius, the two new months, would be introduced at the end of the 10th month by Roman’s second King, King Numa.
The Romans believed that the god Janus would give them signs about their future when they entered the new year.
Numa Pompilius, who served as Roman’s second king, invented January and February in around 700 BCE to replace the last two months of the Roman Calendar (which were thought to be unlucky).
Janus was depicted as having two faces, which meant he could look back on the year ending and forward to the new one. This god would be essential for their New Year’s celebrations.
King Julius Caesar later introduced the Julian calendar (named after him).
This new system used a solar cycle of 365 days and a lunar cycle of 354 days. That meant that the year was about 11 minutes shorter than the solar cycle.
Ole Jul is still used today in many Scandinavian countries. Other nations with New Year’s celebrations on January 1st include Germany, Greece, Denmark, and Poland.
Some countries like France chose to make January 1st the start of their New Year in 1564.
Others chose March 25th – which was when they celebrated Lady Day (feast of the Annunciation).
The UK didn’t change their New Year’s celebration until 1752 when they decided it would be on January 1st. They would later change it to December 31st, as with so many other countries.
In the 20th century, many countries made January 1st a legal holiday.
Today, New Year’s Eve takes place on December 31st in most parts of the world. This holiday marks the end of one year and the start of another.
In Rome, New Year’s Day celebrations involved feasting and revelry.
Eventually, the Early Christians would adapt these traditions to fit their practices – holding dance parties on New Year’s Eve and wearing masks while ringing in the New Year.
In Assyria, they referred to this holiday as the Akitu Festival.
How Has It Evolved?
New Year’s Eve is celebrated worldwide, with countdown celebrations, fireworks, parties, and gatherings.
Today, people are even using social media platforms to share their New Year’s thoughts and pictures (like Facebook).
Countdown celebrations usually happen the day leading up to the New Year.
The tradition of holding a countdown celebration throughout the night dates back as far as 1823 (in England).
Around this time, people would set out candles and hope that they were extinguished by midnight so that their fortunes could change for the better.
The first large-scale New Year’s Eve countdown celebrations began in Sydney, Australia.
In the 1930s, ABC (an Australian radio station) would host these celebrations at 9 pm each year.
Today, Sydney hosts a spectacular fireworks show on the harbour at 9 pm. This is when their New Year’s countdown celebration begins.
This tradition has been taken over by other countries and regions with large cities.
In Germany, they hold a “ball drop” in Berlin to welcome the new year instead of fireworks. In this case, a large crystal ball is lowered at the stroke of midnight.
The US has its version of a ball drop celebration in New York City (called “the ball drop”).
This tradition dates back to 1907 when store owners on Broadway Place wanted an event that would draw people downtown.
The UK also has its version of the ball drop (with a spectacular fireworks show) in London. The tradition dates back to 1954, where they used a sixpence coin for the big switch off.
Today, people all over the world celebrate New Year’s Eve with family and friends. Counting down to midnight together is a prevalent tradition.
Fireworks displays, parties, and gatherings are also pervasive.
New Year’s Eve Traditions
New years eve is marked by a series of traditions, including but not limited to:
Countdown celebrations are a staple part of New Year’s celebrations.
These mark the end of one year and the start of another. Many people choose to mark this occasion with fireworks, songs (like ‘Auld Land Syne’), parties, and gatherings.
New York City, in particular, holds an extravagant ball drop at midnight, which sees thousands gather to celebrate the night together.
New Year’s Eve parties are a great way to bring in the new year.
They often involve dinner, drinks, and plenty of dancing. It is a night where people let loose and enjoy themselves after 12 months of hard work. People dress up, have fun with friends and family – kick back and party!
Many people enjoy a special New Year’s Eve dinner.
It is often a lavish affair, with people dressing up and dining at their finest. The food will be delicious, the atmosphere lively and everyone has a great time!
Auld Land Syne
‘Auld Land Syne’ is an old Scottish song written by Robert Burns in 1788.
It is often sung on New Year’s Eve to usher in the new year together. The steady rhythm of the song makes it easy to sing and play, which is why so many people choose to do so at this time each year.
Knowing how to play ‘Auld Land Syne’ on guitar properly can be a great way to impress your friends or family.
A firework display is another way to mark the start of a new year.
People gather to watch these displays and enjoy the show as colourful rockets light up the sky. The loud booms and crackles can be heard miles away – so it’s an event that you’ll want to share with others!
Social Media Use
More and more people are now choosing to make their New Year’s Eve countdowns on social media (Facebook and Twitter).
People often post pictures of themselves and their friends getting ready or upload videos of fireworks displays and parties they have attended.
It is a great way to celebrate the end of one year and the start of another!
Eating special foods (like black-eyed peas or cabbage) for good luck
Eating foods like cabbage or black-eyed peas for good luck is another tradition people partake in.
No one knows where this tradition originated, but it’s still common practice nowadays.
For something more modern – eating grapes at midnight (one grape for each stroke of the clock) is believed to bring lots of luck in the new year!
Wearing special costumes or masks and dressing up to dance
People often wear unique costumes or masks around this time to dance in the streets.
This is referred to as ‘Mischief Night’ and has long existed in Europe.
Some people prefer to stick with traditional outfits, whereas others get more creative! Either way, it’s a great way for everyone to have fun and enjoy themselves on New Year’s Eve.