21 Fascinating Things You Never Knew About New Year Traditions

21 Fascinating Things You Never Knew About New Year Traditions

Fun and Weird New Year’s Trivia 

New Year Celebrations and Traditions are a longstanding part of our culture as humans.  Striving to always be just a little bit better than we were last year, or even yesterday.  We often need tradition to ground us towards being better and at least a reminder that we are part of a bigger picture.  Perhaps we more than enjoy traditions, it may be that we as humans and contributors to society, might be lost without them.  Here are 21 fun, weird and strange facts about the origins and variety of celebrations that have formed who we are up to January 2023.  

1.  You can thank a pope for making our new year start on January 1. The Gregorian calendar was introduced in October of 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII as a revised version of the Julian calendar. It took almost 350 years for the world to get on board. Turkey didn't make the switch until 1927.

2. Despite the hype, only 15% of Americans spend New Year’s Eve at a party or public event.

3.  In the U.S., 45% of people ring in the New Year with friends and family, while 24% prefer to stay at home, and 3% don’t celebrate at all.

4.  Those who head to the famous Times Square party throw 1.5 tons of confetti. The trash generated takes 300 sanitation workers 15 to 16 hours to clean up.

5.  An average of 44% of Americans make a New Year’s resolution before the night is over.

6.  Only 31% of people stick with the promises they made to themselves the prior year. A whopping 81% fail by February.

7.  The four most popular types of goals people set are to exercise, eat well, lose weight, and save money.

8.  The confetti in Times Square has thousands of people's wishes written on them. In 2015 "wishfetti" became a  part of the tradition.  People write their wishes for the new year and submit them to the Wish Wall in Times Square (or online) and those wishes are turned into the confetti that falls over the crowd at midnight.

9.  Many Brazilians welcome the New Year at the beach. It is considered good luck to make seven wishes while jumping seven waves— so you can count on a good old New Year's beach party down in Rio de Janeiro!

10.  If you hear plates breaking in Denmark on New Year’s Eve, it’s considered good luck.  The Danes hold a tradition of throwing plates at the front door of family and friends’ homes to welcome good fortune for the new year.

11.  ABC's 'New Year’s Rockin’ Eve' show is a long standing tradition.  Dick Clark began hosting the show in 1974. In December 2004, Clark suffered a stroke and Regis Philbin stepped in at the last minute to host. In 2005, Clark officially handed hosting duties over to Ryan Seacres

12.  Most New Year’s resolutions aren’t taken too seriously.  Nearly 80% of resolutions made at the beginning of the year are forgotten by February.  So no worries if you need to restart at any point.

13.  The reason January is called January is actually kind of deep.  It's been widely reported that the month was named for the Roman god Janus, but it's actually rooted in the Latin word "ianua," which means door. The name was chosen to symbolize the opening of a new door that happens when the new year begins.

14.  Baby New Year is actually really old.  Baby New Year has been a symbol of the holiday since around 600 B.C., starting in ancient Greece when an infant was paraded around in a basket in celebration of Dionysus, the god of fertility (and wine). The baby represents a rebirth that occurs at the start of each new year.

15. The guy credited with Auld Lang Syne didn't fully write it.  Robert Burns took a Scottish folk song called "Old Long Syne" and put his own spin on it in 1788, which is the version we all know today. Auld lang syne means "times long past.

16, Time balls were invented to help sailors.  Long before it was used on New Year's Eve, a ball on top of England's Royal Observatory in Greenwich was dropped at 1 p.m. every day (starting in 1833) to help ship captains coordinate their navigation equipment. Similar balls were set up in coastal areas around the world.
17. The first Times Square New Year's party was thrown for a newspaper.  The annual tradition of gathering in Times Square for New Year's started as a party to celebrate the opening of the New York Times building in 1904. Over 200,000 people attended. Though the parties raged on, there wasn't a ball drop until 1907.  Fireworks were previously used to welcome the new year, but they were banned because burning embers were falling on the crowd. A ball being lowered on a flagpole was a safer bet. It's been a spectacle every year since, except for during World War II.  Wartime restrictions put the tradition on pause in 1942 and 1943. Times Square revelers observed a moment of silence at midnight instead.
18. New Year's is terrifying for children in Akita, Japan.  There's a local tradition called Namahage where grown men dress up like demons to scare children into behaving for their parents. They go from house to house yelling things like "Are there any crybabies at home?" or "Are naughty kids around?"
19. If you live in Italy, wearing red underwear is considered lucky.  Wearing red underwear on New Year's will supposedly bring good fortune in the coming year. It's also considered the color of fertility so for those hoping to conceive, it's considered double lucky.
20.  Grapes are also supposedly lucky.  Spanish households carry on the tradition of scarfing down 12 grapes in the first 12 seconds of the new year. The grapes represent each month of the year. Rumor has it that this whole thing started as a marketing tactic for winemakers looking to sell more grapes in the winter.
21. Black eyed peas are thought to be lucky because the fattiness of pork symbolizes wealth and the peas are believed to bring good fortune because they swell when cooked which is why they're both popular foods to eat on New Year's Eve.
That was kinda fun, huh?
Happy New Year! 
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