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New Year's Eve Traditions
Auld Lang Syne
Some call it "The most famous song no one knows the words to," but most people can belt out a line or two. The tradition of singing this song started with Guy Lombardo when he and his band performed it on New Year's Eve in 1929 in New York City.
The ball drop in New York City, which started in 1907, draws throngs of viewers to Times Square. Millions more around the world watch the event on TV. In recent years, the ball has become more eco-friendly - it's now illuminated by energy-efficient LED lights.
Making New Year's resolutions is a practice reaching back to ancient Babylon. For centuries, people have seen the new year as a good time for a new beginning or goal.
Also rooted in ancient practices, public fireworks displays are often enthusiastically set off at midnight. The Chinese invented fireworks specifically to be used for the new year, and the theory goes back to ancient times when noise and fire were thought to banish spirits and elicit good luck.
Some people consider collard greens and black eyes peas lucky New Year's Eve choices, because they resemble paper money and coins. Noodles and grains symbolize long life and abundance. Ring shaped cakes are reminders of life coming full circle.
Kiss the Old Year Goodbye
On New Year's Eve, it's customary for couples to pucker up and for singles to find someone to kiss. Some people believe that a New Year's kiss will stave off loneliness the rest of the year. Others believe that a lovin embrace sets the tone for a joyous new year.