The trivia/facts below describe odd customs followed in different countries across the world when celebrating New Year’s Eve/Day.
- The first recorded New Year’s celebration dates back 4,000 years to Babylon, when the first moon after the spring equinox marked a new year. In 46 B.C., Julius Caesar created a calendar with Jan. 1 as the first day of the year, partly to honor Janus, the month’s namesake and god of beginnings.
- According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, statistics show more vehicles are stolen on New Year’s Day than on any other holiday throughout the year.
- The Time Square New Year’s Eve Ball came about as a result of a ban on fireworks. The first ball, in 1907, was an illuminated 700-pound iron and wood ball adorned with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs. Today the round ball designed by Waterford Crystal, weighs 11,875-pounds, is 12 feet in diameter and is bedazzled with 2,668 Waterford crystals.
- Due to wartime restrictions, the New Year’s Eve ball was not lowered in 1942 and 1943.
- Throughout the year, visitors to Times Square in New York City write their New Year’s wishes on pieces of official Times Square New Year’s Eve confetti. At the end of the year, the wishes are collected and added to the one ton of confetti that showers the crowd gathered in Times Square in celebration of the New Year.
- Food plays a big role in New Year’s traditions. Eating black-eyed peas, ham or cabbage are thought to bring prosperity. However, stay away from bad luck foods like lobsters, because they move backwards, and chicken, because they scratch in reverse. It is believed that eating these on New Year’s day might cause a reversal of fortune.
- In Italy, people wear red underwear on New Year’s Day as a symbol of good luck for the upcoming year.
- What started with a couple of cameras and skeleton crew in 1972 has grown to become the most-watched New Year’s Eve broadcast in the world. In the second “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” without the legend himself, Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy will host this year’s show
- The first month of the year in the Gregorian calendar- January has been named after God Janus, who holds two faces. One face of the God look backwards, while the other one look towards the future and represents the ‘spirit of the opening’.
- The practice of is not a few years old but its origin can be traced back to as early as the Babylonians. According to the data, nearly 40-45% of the people in the US take a pledge on the New Year’s Day. Most of the resolutions taken by people include issues such as weight loss, quitting of bad habits such as alcohol consumption and smoking. The research also throws up an interesting trivia about New Year resolutions. It is seen that merely a few stick to tjeir resolutions till the end of the first month of the New Year, while nearly 25% of the people forget about their resolutions before the end of January.
- Though you may not know the exact words to “Auld Lang Syne,” you’ve probably at least hummed the tune at past New Year’s parties. Touched by the lyrics he allegedly received from “an old man,” poet Robert Burns sent “Auld Lang Syne” to Scottish Musical Museum in 1778. Translated as “Times Gone By,” the song’s message is that, despite the pain in doing so, we must remember and toast to those we’ve loved and lost in order to keep them close to our hearts.
- A search on trivia related to New Year shows that there is a tradition of making the first baby born on the first day of the New Year as a symbol to signify the year. This practice was started by the ancient Greeks around 600 B.C. and has been in continuation till date. Some cultures also follow the norm of carrying a baby in a basket to pay tribute to the God of fertility- Dionysus. It is also meant for signifying the annual birth of the baby in some countries.
- People in countries like Mexico, Bolivia and Italy also follow a weird New Year tradition of wearing red underwear on the eve of the New Year. It is said to bring good luck for the entire year, while yellow underwear is also worn on the New Year’s Day as it symbolizes money.
- Some of the countries also follow the ritual of eating some lucky foods for the New Year. Spain has the ritual of eating twelve grapes-each for a month to bring about good fortune in the upcoming year. In Philippines, people prefer to eat food items in round shape to secure happiness and invite economic prosperity all round the year.
- The common belief behind lighting up fireworks in some countries on New Year’s Day is that it not only illuminates the sky but also dispels bad spirits and unpleasant memories of the past.
- The tradition to smooch at midnight isn’t a recent invention. According to old English and German folklore, the first person you come across in the new year could set the tone for the next 12 months. The superstition doesn’t just apply to singles—if a couple ringing in the new year together doesn’t lock lips, then the future of their relationship might not be all that bright. So be sure to plant one on your significant other when the ball drops!
- Some people believe that breaking anything on New Year’s Day foreshadows a year of other broken things, like friendships and marriages. Many cultures also make sure to not serve any form of fowl on that day because it means the family will have to “scratch out” a living for the rest of the year. Instead, to ensure a year of good luck, firecrackers and noisemakers became tradition in order to scare away any remaining evil spirits and to ensure a brand new start.