Today’s Weekly Calendar Fun Fact:
Firecrackers and noisemakers are traditions to drive off evil spirits and begin anew. Other things dropped on NYE include: a giant pickle, a giant Hershey’s kiss, a giant wrench and a drag queen lowered in a giant shoe.
New Year’s Eve is celebrated by every nation and every walk of life. It marks the beginning of a new chapter and a fresh start. In fact, January itself was named after the Roman God, Janus, who is the god of doors, transitions, beginnings and endings. This is why January leads the pack because it is, quite frankly, the door to the new year.
Many folks recognize the Times Square ball drop as the biggest icon to represent the holiday but the annual party actually started as a celebration of the New York Times newspaper opening their new building in 1904. They added the famous ball drop in 1907. The NY ball isn’t the only thing dropped on New Year’s Eve either. In Miami, they raise a 35 foot tall, sunglasses wearing orange named Mr. Neon. In Hershey, PA they drop a giant Hershey’s kiss. Pennsylvania towns love to play off of their names such as Mechanicsburg dropping a wrench and Dillsburg dropping a pickle.
The most colorful ball dropping has to be in Key West where they lower a drag queen named, Sushi, in a giant red high-heel.
The island of Kiribati, a.k.a. Christmas Island, is the first location in the world to ring in the New Year while American Samoa is the very last. Some tourists fly from Samoa to American Samoa in order to celebrate twice.
Of the world traditions, we in the States are aware of using a broom to sweep negative energy and the old year out the door or that fireworks and noisemakers were to ward off evil spirits so we can begin anew. It’s also believed that eating black eyed peas and pork bring in prosperity because they swell when cooked. Italy wears red underwear on NYE to bring good fortune and fertility in the coming year while Spain does so by scarfing down 12 grapes in the first 12 seconds of the new year.
New Year’s Eve is terrifying, however, for those in Akita, Japan. A local tradition called Namahage, sees adult men dressing like demons and scaring children into behaving for their parents. The men go house to house, banging on doors and yelling “Are there any naughty children here?” I suppose the kids in Akita are less overjoyed on January 1st because of an exciting new year and more because the demons are gone! Regardless, the New Year brings hope to everyone in the world for a fresh start.
To learn about the crazy history of NYE, check out the video below.
New Year’s Eve History Vid Courtesy of HISTORY