New Years Day
The first time the New Year was celebrated on January 1st was in Rome in 153 B.C. The holiday is observed in difference ways, varying by country, religious backgrounds and family traditions. For example the Chinese New Year is according to the Chinese calendar which consists of both Gregorian and lunar-solar calendar systems. Chinese bring in the New Year by hosting an annual reunion dinner; thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes. The color red symbolizes good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits.
In Brazil, Vispera de Ano Novo or New Year’s Eve is the most important day for Brazilians. The day is also marked with numerous fireworks, musical shows and dance performances. In Thailand, New Years Day is called Songkran, it is actually celebrated for three days from April 13th – 15th. A unique tradition is that the Thais dress up in new attires to welcome the New Year in a fresh manner. For South Africans they celebrate with extreme fun and will demonstrate pure joy. The people of South Africa wait with full energy and anticipation. The church bells are rung and gunshots are fired to welcome the New Year.
In the United States, the most iconic New Year’s tradition is the dropping of a giant ball in New York City’s Times Square at the stroke of midnight. As you know, millions of people around the world watch the event, which has taken place almost every year since 1907. Something interesting and worth sharing with participants is that various towns and cities across America have developed their own versions of the Times Square ritual, organizing public drops of items ranging from pickles (Dillsburg, Pennsylvania) to possums (Tallapoosa, Georgia) at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
We hope that during this time of new beginnings and fresh starts that you and your staff have an opportunity to share your family traditions and customs about bringing in the New Year.