Ring In The New.... With A Miracle!
In the past 100 years, the "ball dropping" on top of One Times Square in New York City, broadcast to all of America (and rebroadcast in many other countries), is a major component of the New Year celebration. The 1,070-pound, 6-foot-diameter Waterford crystal ball located high above Times Square is lowered, starting at 11:59:00pm and reaching the bottom of its tower 60 seconds later, at the stroke of midnight. This is repeated for all four time zones in the continental US. It is sometimes referred to as "the big apple" like the city itself; the custom derives from the time signal that used to be given at noon in harbors. From 1981 to 1988, New York City dropped an enlarged apple in recognition of its nickname.. The song Auld Lang Syne has become a popular song to sing at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
If your head really hurts on New Year’s Day, you could point your finger at the Babylonians who started this new year revelry nonsense. Though the ancient Romans added the idea of alcoholic excess, or at least perfected it. Julius Caesar fixed the start of the year on Jan. 1 by letting the previous year run to 445 days rather than the traditional 365.
New Year’s is among the very oldest and most persistent of human celebrations.
The western world celebrates the new year on Jan. 1. For some thousands of years before the Romans, the new year was celebrated with the first edible crops of the season or the first new moon. The new year celebration is an observance of the earth’s ability to renew itself and sustain us for another year. In agrarian societies— foods were the most potent of all new year’s symbols.
Ancient Egyptian and Greek societies paraded a baby around to symbolize the new year, at the end of winter when the crops sprouted, not the beginning when we do it. Baby New remains a popular symbol and turns up at celebrations even today. Father Time, who symbolizes the passage of time and the death of the old year, is a kindly looking old fellow, sometimes depicted holding Baby New Year.
At the stroke of Midnight, as the old year passes into the new, only one tradition is left: the kiss. The Romans loved kissing and incorporated it into their Solstice and Saturnalia celebrations. Thus kissing as a New Year’s Eve tradition persists today throughout the new world. The kiss is meant to set the tone for the new year, so be careful who you are standing near when the clock strikes 12. Pick a loved one. Awkward is not the tone you want to set for a whole year.
(excerpts from an article by Randy Shore of the Vancouver Sun)