“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’…”
― Alfred Tennyson
In another 3-4 days, we will be kissing goodbye to 2019 and ringing in 2020 with elan! As we look back at memories we created and bad experiences we overcame like a pro in the last 12 months, we must take a minute from our hectic lives to understand the brilliant history and traditions of January 1 or what is better known as the New Year’s Day.
So let’s flip through five amazing facts about New Year that are definitely conversation starters.
1) Thank you, Julius Caesar: If it weren’t for honoring Janus, the Roman God of beginnings, Julius Caesar wouldn’t have established January 1 as New Year’s Day in 46 BC. Before this, the early Romans considered March 1 as the first day of the year. In Medieval Europe, December 25, which is Jesus’ birth anniversary, replaced January 1 as New Year’s Day. However, Pope Gregory XIII re-established January 1 as the first day of the year in 1582.
2) Making resolutions, an old practice: New Year’s means making resolutions to start good habits or break bad ones! Did you know that people have been making resolutions for more than 4,000 years? It is believed that the ancient Babylonians were the first to take New Year’s resolutions to be in the good books of Gods.
3) Lucky New Year foods: Many people eat for luck on New Year’s Day. For instance, ancient Persians consumed eggs for increased productiveness and prosperity. Similarly today, green vegetables and beans are eaten in the U.S., grapes in Spain and Mexico, doughnuts in the Netherlands and cabbage in Eastern Europe for prosperity and health.
4) Of ‘times gone by’: ‘Auld Lang Syne’, an old Scottish song written by poet Robert Burns in 1796, is sung at midnight by English-speakers on New Year’s Eve. However, it wasn’t till Burns heard an old man hailing from his homeland, Ayrshire, sing the song did he polish the lyrics of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ to what we know as today. Later, postage stamps were printed in Great Britain with an image of Medieval highland dancers to pay homage to Robert Burns.
5) The enormous New Year’s Eve ball: The traditional dropping of 11,875 pounds-ball from the One Times Square in New York is known across the globe. The first ball dropping ceremony was organized on December 31, 1907. The original ball weighed just 700 pounds and was five feet in diameter. In 2008, a new bigger ball was introduced which is 12 feet in diameter and can resist strong winds and wavering temperatures.
Wish you a Happy New Year!