New Year's Eve

What is New Year's Eve/Day?

New Year’s traditions date all the way back to 46 B.C.E and continue around the world today. From any major city in Australia to New York, traditions typically consist of the same festivities. Julius Caesar established January 1 as New Year’s day because he felt that the month was an opening “door” to the year. On a more religion side, it was not until 1066 that December 25 was officially decided as Jesus’ birthday and Jan 1 would mark the start of the year. This resulted in a strong rooting of the English and Christian calendars. Fast forward to 1577, Pope Gregory XIII declared that all Roman Jews under pain of death must listen to compulsory Catholic conversion sermons. During this time, New Year’s became a way for Pope Gregory to convert Jews to Christianity. In medieval and post-medieval periods, January 1st was the day that Jesus’ circumcision forced the reign of Christianity and the death of Judaism.


In the 1900s, New Year’s became the holiday we so steadily believe in today. Not only is it a time of joyous celebration, but it is the welcoming of a new year. Typically, people gather in cities or in the homes of family or friends and wait for midnight to scream “Happy New Year!” People are usually dressed in sparkly and celebratory clothes that lighten the environment. A famous New Year celebration is in New York City, watching the ball drop on West 43rd street. In 1904, New York City’s celebration moved to the Times building. Crowds would gather and hear bells ring at midnight. The actual New York Times company would produce fireworks to enforce celebration and happiness. Since fireworks in New York City is the first step to starting a fire on all the buildings and the homes of the City’s people, the owner Adolph Ochs asked Walter F. Palmer for an alternate solution. Thus, a 700-pound ball of iron and wood with 100 light bulbs was created.

Now, the tradition continues with live broadcasting of the ball dropping at midnight and a new design of lights each year. What is a typical New Year’s celebration to you? Growing up, I watched the ball drop in NYC on TV with my family at our family friend’s backyard celebration. At the end of the day, the celebrations are really only about who is around you in the festivities prior to midnight, and at midnight. Although the holiday has completely changed since when it was initiated, the feeling of togetherness still exists.