New Years Links Happy New Year! Home
New Years Links
Happy New Year!
Happy New Year from the "Valley of the Sun," Scottsdale, Arizona!
(Tip: Follow the links at the bottom right of each page to complete our New Year's tour.)
In many places people stay up late to watch the old year out and the new year in. Almost everywhere in the world church bells ring, horns toot, whistles blow, sirens shriek.
London's Trafalgar Square and New York City's Times Square swarm with crowds of happy, noisy people.The hullabaloo expresses people's high spirits at holiday time. Many years ago, however, the loud noises were meant to scare away evil spirits, thus giving the new year a fresh start.
New Year's Day is a time for entertaining, visiting, and in many places, gift-giving. Schools, offices, and businesses are closed. Churches hold services on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Since it marks the beginning of the year, New Year's Day is thought of as a good time to make New Year's resolutions - the resolve to do better in the year just beginning than you did in the year just ended.
Auld Lang Syne (The Good Old Days) is a song traditionally sung at midnight when horns are blown, confetti is thrown, and a general party atmosphere is created to ring in the New Year with happiness. The outgoing year is often represented by an elderly man known as Father Time and the new year is represented by a baby known as Baby New Year.
New Year's Celebrations Around The World
The new year has not always begun on January 1, and it doesn't begin on that date everywhere today. It begins on that date only for cultures that use a 365-day solar calendar. January 1 became the beginning of the new year in 46 B.C., when Julius Caesar developed a calendar that would more accurately reflect the seasons than previous calendars had.
The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus, the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances. He was always depicted with two faces, one on the front of his head and one on the back. Thus he could look backward and forward at the same time.
At midnight on December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking back at the old year and forward to the new. The Romans began a tradition of exchanging gifts on New Year's Eve by giving one another branches from sacred trees for good fortune. Later, nuts or coins imprinted with the god Janus became more common New Year's gifts.
In the Middle Ages, Christians changed New Year's Day to December 25, the birth of Jesus. Then they changed it to March 25, a holiday called the Annunciation. In the sixteenth century, Pope Gregory XIII revised the Julian calendar, and the celebration of the new year was returned to January 1.
The Julian and Gregorian calendars are solar calendars. Some cultures have lunar calendars, however. A year in a lunar calendar is less than 365 days because the months are based on the phases of the moon. The Chinese use a lunar calendar. Their new year begins at the time of the first full moon (over the FarEast) after the sun enters Aquarius - sometime between January 19 and February 21.
The Chinese celebrate the holiday by exchanging gifts, having parades, and exploding firecrackers. One of twelve animals, such as a tiger, a rooster, or a dog, is associated with each new year.
The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, is celebrated on the first two days of the Jewish calendar's first month, Tishri, which falls in September or October. The Jewish New Year is heralded by the rabbi blowing a shofar, or ram's horn, in the synagogue.
The Islamic year starts anew every 354 days. Because there are no adjustments, like Leap Year, to make each calendar year correspond to the earth's cycle around the sun, the first month of the Islamic calendar, Muharram, is not in the same season every year.
Although the date for New Year's Day is not the same in every culture, it is always a time for celebration and for customs to ensure good luck in the coming year.
In France, families gather and exchange gifts and greeting cards. Children often present their parents with homemade gifts to wish them Bonne Annee. In Italy, a piece of mistletoe is hung over the front door to bring good luck to the entire household.
In Scotland, people bring delicious cakes and cookies to aprties. It is believed that the first person to enter a house will receive good luck. "Auld Lang Syne," the traditional New Year's song, was written by a Scottish poet, Robert Burns, 200 years ago.
In Japan, New Year's is celebrated for three days, starting on January 1. Everyone receives new clothes and little work is done. On New Year's Eve, Buddhist temples ring out the old year by letting passersby each ring a huge bell once until it has rung 108 times, one time for each kind of evil in the world. On New Year's Day, it is traditional to make a pilgrimmage to a Shinto shrine or a Buddhist temple.
In the United States, the New Year's celebrations that are familiar to us today were originated in the 1750s by the Dutch in New Amsterdam. Today, we make New Year's resolutions. We decide to "turn over a new leaf" and improve ourselves in some way during the new year.
Many people have big parties on New Year's Eve. Children are often permitted to stay up until midnight, when "Old Father Time" (with a long white beard) is replaced by the "New Year's Child" (dressed only in diapers).
There are also special New Year's traditions in various parts of the country. In New York City, tens of thousands of celebrants crowd into Times Square to await the dropping of a large, lighted ball from the top of a skyscraper precisely at midnight on New Year's Eve. The occasion, shown on television, triggers celebrations all across the United States.
On New Year's Day in Philadelphia, thousands of people dress in elaborate costumes and dance through the main streets in the daylong Mummers' Parade.
In Pasadena, the Rose Bowl football game is preceded by the Tournament of Roses Parade - marching bands from all parts of the United States and hundreds of floats covered with fresh flowers make this a festive celebration. Several other bowl games are also played around the country to end the college football season.
Making New Year's Resolutions? Click here for a novel approach to a "different" kind of New Years Resolution!
Here are several excellent additions to your Holiday CD collection.
Here's a little New Years Humor:
Send someone you love a FREE e-New Year's Day card. . .
The "Peace Song" Lyrics
Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.
Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now.
NOTE: Substitute the word "Love" in the place of "Peace" and turn this song into a beautiful relationship love song! Back to Top
Too much of a "Happy New Year?" Read: A Sure Cure for a Hangover.
Got the "holiday blues?" Read: Rx for the "holiday blues".
Need someone to talk with because of the "holiday blues?" Phone a friend.
Follow the links at the bottom right of each page to complete our New Year's tour.
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