History of New Year’s celebrations

AP Photo
Workers prepare to install the last panels on the New Year’s Eve ball above Times Square in New York City on Wednesday. The ball, 12-feet in diameter, holds over 2,600 Waterford crystals and is lit by more than 32,000 LED lights.

AP Photo Workers prepare to install the last panels on the New Year’s Eve ball above Times Square in New York City on Wednesday. The ball, 12-feet in diameter, holds over 2,600 Waterford crystals and is lit by more than 32,000 LED lights.

Going into the New Year many people gave 2017 one last hurrah, and go into 2018 with new hopes, aspirations, another year to tackle, and maybe a hangover. Going forward, the month of January can be a time of reflection and planning, looking back on the past year and making plans to better the next.

The month of January gets its name from the Roman god Janus, a man with two faces, as reformed by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. Janus’ two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future. This is where many people get their idea of reflection.

This reflection often prompts resolutions. Resolutions are something everyone asks about this time of year. People will resolve to live a healthier lifestyle, give back more, or to simply make a change for the better.

Dale Ganske, owner of Central Avenue Variety in downtown Minot, told the Minot Daily News: “I resolve to have more patience and love thy neighbor.”

Because of one year blending into the next, many people around the world begin celebrating on Dec. 31. They may host New Year’s parties or just watch television, hang out with family and appreciate the things the previous year has given them.

“I like to watch TV with family and reminisce,” Ganske said. “We’ll probably watch the ball drop even though we’re in a different time zone.”

The “ball” Ganske refers to is the New Year’s Eve ball that drops in New York City’s Time Square at midnight. Millions of people tune in every year to watch the spectacular event across the nation and the world, but how did this tradition start?

Before 1904, crowds would gather at Trinity Church in downtown Manhattan, New York, to hear the bells ring at midnight.

Instead of chimes, the New York Times company would put on a fireworks display to drive spectators to the newly built New York Times building in midtown Manhattan. The city later banned fireworks due to hot ash falling into the crowds.

Determined to make it work, event organizers arranged to have a 700-pound iron and wood orb lowered down a pole at the stroke of midnight in 1906.

Since then, the spectacle has grown into an American tradition as thousands will flock to Times Square itself, and others will watch it on television.

Another tradition going hand-in-hand with the ball dropping is the New Year’s kiss. It is believed that if you do not start the year with a kiss, it will ensure a year of loneliness. Whether it is true or not, it is a tradition that has been made custom around the world as you count down to the New Year.

Many different regions and places around the world have different foods or snacks they will eat on or around New Year’s to bring good luck into the upcoming year.

In the American South, people will eat black-eyed peas because they believe it will bring them luck and fortune because of the “coin” look they have.

Pigs symbolize wealth and prosperity in many countries, so many people will opt for a pork dish to help bring in the luck.

In many Asian countries, they will eat noodles in order to bring a long life. When eating, the noodles cannot break before they are fully in the mouth, or else bad luck is sure to ensue.

In Germany, Ireland and parts of the U.S., cabbage is often associated with luck and fortune since it is green.

Lentils are another food that is said to be a resemblance of coins, and is mainly eaten throughout Italy for good fortune into the New Year.

No matter how or what you choose to do to bring in the New Year, the Minot Daily News looks forward to serving the community for many years to come.

In the words of Ganske: “Happy New Years and peace on Earth.”

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