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Celebrating New Years Eve in New York City and Around the World
New Years Eve Trivia
In Case You Were Wondering...
- 1904 was the first celebration of New Year’s Eve in New York City’s Times Square.
- Times Square used to be called Longacre Square but was renamed for the The New York Times Newspaper heaquarters.
- That year, the second tallest building in Manhattan was the Times Tower where the New York Times printed its newspaper
- The owner of the newspaper, Alfred Ochs, threw the biggest ever New Years Eve bash to celebrate including an elaborate fireworks display
- Prior to 1904, the New Year’s Eve place to be in New York was at the Trinity Church in lower Manhattan, where crowds of people would gather to hear the bells toll at midnight. It was a tradition going back from the 1800’s.
- the first ball drop started in 1907 to usher in 1908 from the NY Times Building flagpole.
- The 1st New Year’s Eve ball that was dropped, was five feet in diameter and constructed with iron and wood and decorated with 100 twenty-five watt bulbs, weighing 700 lbs in total.
- The lit up ball drop showed off the new invention of electricity and was a technological marvel at the time
- Hundreds of thousands of people in the crowd were in awe at the bright lights descending down the flagpole.
- Every year the ball has been lowered starting at 11:59 p.m. on Dec 31. in 1942 and 1943 because of WWII war effort to cut back, The New Year was observed with a moment of silence and then chimes rang out from sound trucks located near by.
- In 1920 the ball was redesigned and made completely of wrought iron and now weighed only 400 lbs.
- In 1955 the ball was remade with aluminum and now weighed 200 lbs.
- In 1961 One Times Square was redesigned into a marble building
- 1981-1988 the ball was covered with red bulbs and a green stem to appear as an apple for the “big apple” campaign in New York.
- Waterford Crystal redesigned the enitre ball for the millenium celebration in 2000.
- New Year’s Eve 2010 descended the largest crystal ball ever. It weighs 11,875 lbs, and is twelve feet in diameter. It has 2,688 Waterford Crystals adorning it, and uses 32, 256 environmentally friendly LED lights.
New Year’s Eve and the dropping of the ball is an iconic symbol around the entire world, as we acknowledge the transition in time from one year to the next. Ahh, the stories that One Times Square could tell about this date every year. Every Dec 31st people from all over the world, come to Times Square in New York City to see the annual ball drop, with all its glitter, opulence, and sparkle. And millions more watch it on TV and on webcasts, to revel in the start of a new year that brings hope for new and better things to come.
One Million People filled Times Square
the ball drops there are people in Times Square and almost everywhere
singing the song ”Auld Lang Syne”. In case you were wondering what this
song means, it was written in 1788 by Robert Burns, a Scottish poet. He
first heard the song when it was sung by an old man from his hometown
area of Ayrshire in Scotland. The translation means old long since, a
kind of song about the good old days. If you listen to the song, the
words tell you, to move forward, leave the past behind and look toward
the next year with a new feeling of positive things and hope. Guy
Lombardo the band conductor,and his band, His Royal Canadians that made
the song a household tune. Starting in 1929,, Guy Lombardo would play
the song at midnight on New Years. He started a traditionevery year
until 1976. It started on the radio, and transitioned to television. The
traditional New Year’s kiss goes back to Rome in ancient times when the
Romans kissed each other to celebrate the winter solstice at the end of
the year. The German and English legend comes from the belief that you
kissed the first person, you saw, no matter who they were, or how well
you did or didn’t know them, when the clock struck midnight on New
Year’s Eve. Aside from Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve is the most
romantic night of the year. Throughout the United States there are many
traditions old and new, but the ball at Times Square is probably the
To celebrate 2011, New York City had almost one million people fill the crowd at Times Square for the New Year’s celebration. Around the world, there were other traditional celebrations happening.
Around the World
the South Pacific, like New Zealand, where they are the first to
celebrate the New Year around the world, fireworks brighten the night
over Sky Tower in Auckland. In Austrailia, fireworks were seen by a
million and a half viewers.
Asia was filled with midnight celebrations. Along Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong, the sparkling fireworks exploded from the tops of the ten most well known buildings in the city. In Tokyo, The bell rang out from the Zojoji temple,and monks were chanting as people let off silver balloons filled with notes as the New Year arrived. InJapan, the New Year is a very important holiday. and is symbolic of renewal. December is noted with many parties called Bonenkai meaning to “forget the year” parties. as a way to say goodbye to the woes of the old year and welcome the New Year. It is traditional for Buddhists temples to gong 108 times. This is done because they believe there are 108 kinds of human weaknesses.
Celebrations Around the World
Europe, it was guessed that 250,000 people watched fireworks over the
Thames River in England. The day before New Years Eve, Scotland started
their 4 day Hogmanay Festival. Hogmanay is the winter holidy filled
with traditions that celebrate the New Year for a 4 day time period. It
is a national tradition, yet it is observed with many local customs
with great popularity throughout Scotland. In the Netherlands, bonfires
of Christmas trees are burned on the Dutch streets to purge themselves
of the old, and prepare for the new. In Spain, the celebratants gathered
in Madrid in the Puerta Del Sol square where people ate 12 grapes, one
for each of the twelve chimes when the clock struck midnight. The
tradition is called Las Uvas. After they eat the grapes, drinking and
spraying each other with sparkling wine rings in the New Year. The idea
of chewing the grapes is sign a good luck to come.
In Greece, they have the Festival of St. Basil, who was one of the founders of the Greek Orthodox church. They traditionally bake a cake with a coin inside. Whoever finds the silver or gold coin in the cut piece of cake will have luck throughout the year.
The Tradition of New Years Eve
the world, and through the ages, New Year’s Eve is a time honored
tradition. Time marches on and so we might as well celebrate the passage
of it as we mark the arrival of a new year. To one and all, may your
year be filled with good things that help us all be the best we can, do
the best we can, and see the best in each other and the world around us.