Saturday, 1 January 2011
A History of New Year's by Stephanie Burkhart
The ancient Babylonians who lived before the Romans, approx. 2000 BC, started their New Year on the 1st new moon after the spring equinox. For them, it was the logical time to celebrate, as spring entails new growth. They would feast for 11 days and their traditions included making resolutions. One of the most popular resolutions was to return borrowed farm equipment!
The Egyptians used a similar calendar to the Babylonians, as did the Romans. Throughout the years, various Roman emperors tinkered the calendar to the exasperation of the Roman senate. When Julius Caesar visited Egypt, he liked their calendar so much that he changed the Roman calendar to start on January 1st and synchronized it with the sun, thus the previous year continued on for 445 days. This came to be known as the Julian Calendar.
In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII created the calendar, which is what most of the western world now uses. It firmly set the calendar in stone and provided a clear distinction of the four seasons. It's hard to believe our modern calendar is only 428 years old!
LUCK IN THE NEW YEAR
It has always been thought that one can affect the luck they have in the coming year by what they did or ate on the first day of the year. For that reason people hold parties, eat certain foods, and follow certain traditions. The Dutch believe eating donuts on New Years will bring them good luck. Other lucky foods include cabbage, black-eyed peas, and rice.
THE MIDNIGHT KISS
The custom can be traced back to the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia, and the winter solstice. The first person you encountered when the bell chimed midnight should be the first person you kiss. Kissing a loved one brought good luck. Kissing someone less liked or not at all brought misfortune. No wonder why people partied with friends and loved ones.
TIMES SQUARE IN NEW YORK
Since 1904, the popular place has been a hot spot for parties. In 1904, the owners of the square held roof top parties. In 1907, they dropped the first ball. It was made of iron, wood, and 100 25 watt bulbs. Now it's made of Waterford Crystal and has 600 bulbs. There were only two years the ball didn't drop. Can you guess? In 1942 and 1943 due to wartime restrictions.
THE TOURNAMENT OF ROSES PARADE IN PASADENA
Members of the Valley Hunt Club decorated their carriages in 1866 with flowers and paraded through the city to celebrate New Years. Nowadays large floats covered with flowers symbolize the parade. In 1902, the Rose Bowl football game followed the parade. In 1903 the game was replaced with Chariot Races! In 1917, the Rose Bowl football game was brought back for good.
Does anyone have any traditions they'd like to share?
Leave me a comment and I'll pick a winner on 3 JAN to win a PDF copy of their choice of the following:
BOREALIS BOOK 2
Visit my other New Year's Blogs:
At Romance Under The Moonlight, answer my New Years trivia and you can possibly win one of my autographed books. Here's a link: http://sgcardin.blogspot.com
Visit Happily Ever After and take a look at New Years around the world. Here's a link: http://happilyeverafterauthors2.blogspot.com/
Have a happy and prosperous 2011!
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