We celebrated Christmas and then we celebrated New Year… A lot of enthusiasm, a lot of fun, hell lot of resolutions… barrel full of booze, plates full of delicacies… It is one of the most happening times of the whole year and we kinda sit and wait patiently for the time to come.
But! Did you ever try to know where this New Year concept originated from? What are the different New Year customs followed all over the world? If not, here is a list of 30 interesting New Year facts that you will really enjoy:
Interesting New Year Facts: 1-5
1. New Year celebrations are not new. The concept actually dates back to 2000 BC. The Mesopotamians used to celebrate New Year!
2. 1st January as New Year was never a standard practice. Romans for instance celebrated March 1 as New Year. Some other cultures went for winter solstice or summer equinox.
3. The Roman Catholic Church was the one to adopt 1st January as New Year. Well, 1st January as New Year was marked by Georgian Calendar.
4. 1st January was accepted as New Year in 46 BC by Julius Caesar. England and the American colonies of England adopted the date long time later in 1752.
5. The month of January derives its name from a two-faced God named Janus. Janus’ one face looked forward while the other looked backward.
Interesting New Year Facts: 6-10
6. New Year is usually considered to be the best time for making resolutions. Resolutions usually mean people want to give up some bad habits and pick up some good habits but resolutions may not necessarily be about habits.
7. New Year gifts also date back to ancient times when the Persians used to gift eggs symbolizing productivity.
8. Whatever New Year traditions we speak of are actually meant for bringing good luck. For instance, eating black-eyed peas on the day of New Year is believed to bring good luck in several parts of the United States.
9. Speaking of traditions, we cannot miss out on the Estonian practice of eating 7, 9 or 12 meals on the eve of New Year. They believe that eating that many meals will give them the strength of that many people in the year that follows.
10. Finnish people have a weird tradition which goes by the name molybdomancy. This is all about telling fortunes. A small amount of led is melted in a small pan using a small stove. The melted metal is then thrown into a bowl full of cold water. The liquid metal solidifies and the resulting shape of the solid metal is then analyzed in candle light to tell the fortune of a person in the coming year.
Interesting New Year Facts: 11-15
11. People of Denmark practice throwing dishes at the doorsteps of other people. This is believed to bring many new friends to the person on whose doorsteps the dishes are thrown.
12. Denmark also has a custom of making an evening meal ending with Kransekage. This is actually the name of a dessert which is actually a cone-shaped cake with a steep slope. The cake is then decorated with flags and firecrackers.
13. Spanish tradition is to eat 12 grapes at midnight of 31st December. While eating these grapes, Spaniards will make wishes. This tradition is believed to bring good luck for those who practice it. This grape eating tradition started back in 1895.
14. Then we have Japan where the bells in Buddhist Temples are rung 108 times. They do this to welcome the God of New Year known as Toshigami.
15. Talk of Greek traditions and you will find kremmida or onions hanging on their doors. They hang the onions on their doors on New Year’s Eve wishing their children’s goodwill.
Interesting New Year Facts: 16-20
16. Greeks also have the tradition of breaking pomegranates right at their doorsteps. This tradition is believed to bring good luck and prosperity.
17. New Year’s Eve has a special name in Belgium. It is known as Sint Sylvester Vooranvond. People in this country toast with customary champagne and children write letters to godparents or parents on the day of New Year.
18. New Year is celebrated by several special foods in different countries. For example, in Southern US, Ireland, Germany and Italy leafy greens and legumes are associated with financial fortune.
19. Japanese eat long noodles on New Year. Long noodles signify long life.
20. In Portugal, Hungary, Austria and Cuba, pork is a standard New Year food and it signifies prosperity and progress.
Interesting New Year Facts: 21-25
21. Greece, Mexico and Netherlands go for ring-shaped pastries and cakes which signify that the year has come to a full circle.
22. For ancient Greeks, flooding of Nile every year marked the beginning of New Year.
23. By popping open a bubbly bottle is how many people celebrate the New Year. In America alone, during the holiday season, 360 million glasses of sparkling wine are consumed every year.
24. The most common New Year resolutions include ‘quit smoking’, ‘lose weight’, ‘stay healthy and fit’, ‘save more money’ and ‘get (more) organized’.
25. Most English speakers traditionally sing the song ‘Auld Lang Syne’. It is actually a very old song from Scotland and was first published in 1796 poet Robert Burns in the book titled Scots Musical Museum. The literal translation of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ is ‘old long since’ and actually means ‘times gone by’.
Interesting New Year Facts: 26-30
26. The Dutch people launch fireworks and burn Christmas tree bonfires on street during the New Year Eve. The reason they do this is that burning Christmas tree bonfires signify purging of the old and launching fireworks refer to welcoming the new.
27. As far as United States is concerned, the most popular tradition is that of dropping the New Year Ball in New York City’s Times Square exactly at 11:59 PM. The ball goes through a minute-long descent and hits the ground at the stroke of midnight.
28. The dropping of the New Year Ball is actually pretty new tradition that started only in 1907. Though currently the ball is made of Waterford Crystal, it was originally made of wood and iron.
29. America has another pretty popular New Year tradition, which is known as the Rose Bowl. The tradition started back in 1890 featuring the Rose Parade is California’s Pasadena. The parade features floats festooned with eighteen (18) million flowers.
30. In Australia’s Sydney Harbour, the shoreline stretching 40 miles is crowded by more than a million people just for watching the fireworks show.