New Year’s Day rings in the year with boisterous celebrations and festivities, well-intended yet hard-to-keep resolutions, colorful parades and house parties and, of course, food and football. As the first national holiday of the new year, it has become a favorite of young and old, a time when families and friends can gather in hopes that the coming 12 months will be better than ever. There are many traditions that, over the years, this noteworthy day has introduced. Here are some of our favorites.
- “Auld Lang Syne” is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the new year. At least partially written by Robert Burns in the 1700s, it was first published in 1796 after Burns’ death.
- The Rose Bowl is one of the premier college football games and is always played on New Year’s Day (unless it’s Sunday, when January 2nd becomes the date). Held in usually warm and sunny Pasadena, California, the Rose Bowl holds 92,542 spectators and is the granddaddy of all bowl games. The game was first played in 1902, when Michigan (winner with 49 points) and Stanford (0 points) played before 8,000 fans.
- The kiss planted promptly at the stroke of midnight is not to be missed. Thought to be a gesture that purifies everything that is evil, it’s a great way to start the new year!
- First-footer or first-bird is a belief that if the first person to enter your home is tall and dark-haired, the year ahead will be indeed one with good luck for you.
- New Year resolutions are intended to make one do better in the coming year. Weight control, exercise, quitting cigarettes are frequent favorites, but any resolution personally important to the maker is a good way to launch into the year; keeping it is the hard part.
- Lowering of the Times Square Ball begins at 11:59 pm EST for a million attending and TV viewers worldwide who count down the seconds to midnight. The 2017 Ball is a geodesic sphere, 12 feet in diameter, weighs 11,875 pounds and is illuminated by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LED lights.