All around the world, people gather together every December 31 to celebrate the passing of the old year and the commencement of the next. This New Year’s Eve, dazzle all of your fellow party guests with your amazing knowledge of New Year’s celebrations past and present! Kick back with a holiday-themed Personalized Wine Gift, a West Coast Wine Quartet or a festive Champagne Toast to Health, and cheers!
Did you know…
⁃ The first year a ball ever dropped in Times Square in New York was in 1907. It was composed primarily of iron and wood and weighed 700 pounds.
⁃ The first record of a New Year’s celebration dates back almost 4000 years to ancient Babylon, when the first new moon following the vernal equinox was celebrated. Although in March, this was still considered to be a new year by the Babylonians!
⁃ It was after the creation of Julius Caesar’s version of the Roman calendar that January 1 became the official “New Year” marker. “Januarius” as they called it was named after the Roman God of Beginnings, Janus, who had two faces, allowing him to look back into the past and forward into the future.
⁃ Pigs are considered to be a symbol of prosperity and progress in some cultures. Pork is a common New Year’s dish in Cuba, Austria, Hungary and Portugal, among other countries.
⁃ A Swedish and Norwegian tradition involves placing a single almond inside a rice pudding. Tradition dictates that whoever finds the almond is sure to receive a year of good luck.
⁃ Perhaps the most unique New Year’s celebration is held in Tallapoosa, Georgia, where instead of a ball, the town tradition is to drop opossums at midnight.
⁃ A common British tradition is to sing “Auld Lang Syne,” which was written by the Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788. The line translates to approximately “old long ago,” and is a celebration of times past.
Cheers to you in 2013!