The origins of
the glue that
that serve as
the script for
commemorating year-end holidays.
Some celebrants may adhere to traditions without really
knowing how they began or why they continue. Here is
a closer look at some of the most popular traditions tied
to New Year’s Eve, both domestically and around the
The use of champagne for celebrations is rooted in the
Christian ritual of consuming wine during the Eucharist. In
the year 496, a wine from the Champagne region of France
was offered during the baptism of the Frankish warrior
Clovis, according to the Champagne Committee of France.
It then became customary for champagne to be used at
religious events like consecrations and at coronations or
soirees. Eventually the tradition became associated with
secular rituals, such as celebrating the new year.
People of Japanese heritage might eat soba noodles
on New Year’s Eve. The Toshikoshi Soba, which
means “year crossing buckwheat noodle,” denotes the
crossing from one year to the next. Nibbling the noodles
represent traveling from one year to the next as well as
letting go of the previous year’s regrets.
Dropping the ball
Revelers have long watched the giant ball drop in New
York City’s Times Square in person and on television.
This tradition may be rooted in the custom of sailors
using “time balls” to set their own timepieces while at
sea. These chronometers were employed by using a
spyglass to scan the harbor looking for balls that were
dropped into the water at certain times, PBS reports.
The fi rst ball was installed in 1829 in Portsmouth,
England. The Times Square ball was fi rst used in 1907,
according to the Times Square Alliance.
Historians trace the making of resolutions to the Ancient
Babylonians. Citizens made spoken resolutions during
their new year festival known as “Akitu.” This ritual
required making an oath to the sitting or new king.
Romans also swore oaths of loyalty to the emperor
when the New Year started.
Fireworks and noisemakers
Fireworks are a big part of celebrations and are not to be
outdone on New Year’s Eve. Fireworks were invented in
the seventh century in China. Fireworks were designed
to ward off evil spirits. In cultures around the world,
fi reworks, banging drums and other efforts were used
to chase away spooky creatures, especially during the
transitional period that is the passing of the new year.
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