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35 Things You Never Knew About New Year’s

It’s no secret that the arrival of a new year has long been associated with all kinds of New Year’s traditions. People all around the world take the time to prepare good luck foods, make the perfect champagne toast at midnight and dress up in their favorite glittery outfits, all in the spirit of the holiday. But with all of that fanfare, the meaning behind each of these New Year’s activities can become easily lost in the mix.

There is so much fascinating New Year’s history to consider. Like, how did the idea of Baby New Year come about? When was the very first ball drop in Times Square? How did the holiday come to be and how is it celebrated around the world? Well, before you get sucked into a Google rabbit hole trying to answer all of these questions, we’ve pulled together some of the best New Year fun facts that will introduce you to some of the most interesting things you never knew about January 1.

And after you soak up all of these tidbits of knowledge, we suggest keeping them in your back pocket to pull out when you need an ice breaker at this year’s New Year’s Eve party. After all, who doesn’t love a fun piece of trivia?

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Over 50 tons of trash are left in Times Square after New Year’s Eve celebrations.


The confetti dropped in Times Square is holding secret messages.

The confetti in Times Square has thousands of people’s wishes written on them. In 2015 “wishfetti” became a part of the tradition. People write their wishes for the new year and submit them to the Wish Wall in Times Square (or online) and those wishes are turned into the confetti that falls over the crowd at midnight.


Many Brazilians welcome the New Year at the beach.


If you hear plates breaking in Denmark on New Year’s Eve, it’s considered good luck.

The Danes hold a tradition of throwing plates at the front door of family and friends’ homes to welcome good fortune for the new year.


ABC’s ‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’ show is a long standing tradition.

Dick Clark began hosting the show in 1974. In December 2004, Clark suffered a stroke and Regis Philbin stepped in at the last minute to host. In 2005, Clark officially handed hosting duties over to Ryan Seacrest.


Most New Year’s resolutions aren’t taken too seriously.


You can thank a pope for making our new year start on January 1.

The Gregorian calendar was introduced in October of 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII as a revised version of the Julian calendar. It took almost 350 years for the world to get on board. Turkey didn’t make the switch until 1927.


The reason January is called January is actually kind of deep.

It’s been widely reported that the month was named for the Roman god Janus, but it’s actually rooted in the Latin word “ianua,” which means door. The name was chosen to symbolize the opening of a new door that happens when the new year begins.


Baby New Year is actually really old.

Baby New Year has been a symbol of the holiday since around 600 B.C., starting in ancient Greece when an infant was paraded around in a basket in celebration of Dionysus, the god of fertility (and wine). The baby represents a rebirth that occurs at the start of each new year.


The guy credited with Auld Lang Syne didn’t fully write it.


Time balls were invented to help sailors.

Long before it was used on New Year’s Eve, a ball on top of England’s Royal Observatory in Greenwich was dropped at 1 p.m. every day (starting in 1833) to help ship captains coordinate their navigation equipment. Similar balls were set up in coastal areas around the world.


The first Times Square New Year’s party was thrown for a newspaper.

The annual tradition of gathering in Times Square for New Year’s started as a party to celebrate the opening of the New York Times building in 1904. Over 200,000 people attended.


Though the parties raged on, there wasn’t a ball drop until 1907.

Fireworks were previously used to welcome the new year, but they were banned because burning embers were falling on the crowd. A ball being lowered on a flagpole was a safer bet.


It’s been a spectacle every year since, except for during World War II.

Wartime restrictions put the tradition on pause in 1942 and 1943. Times Square revelers observed a moment of silence at midnight instead.


The Times Square ball’s weight has yo-yoed.

The original ball was made from 700 pounds of iron and wood. It was later reduced to just 400 pounds of wrought iron before they switched to an aluminum frame in 1955. The now 11,875 pound ball didn’t get its new look (and materials) until the millenium when Waterford partnered with Philips Lighting to create a shimmery LED display.


Waterford comes up with a new ball pattern every year.

The sphere is made up of 2,688 crystal triangles and has over 32,000 lights. It also displays over 16 million color patterns.


Instead of a ball, Miami, Florida rings in the new year with an orange.

The raising of Mr. Neon, the 35-foot, sunglass-clad metal fruit, has been a tradition for over 30 years.


…while over in Kew West, Florida, a drag queen descends in a shoe.

The female impersonator named Sushi is lowered from a bar rooftop in a giant, red, high-heeled shoe. This has been happening since 1996.


Hershey, PA drops a giant Kiss to ring in the new year.

Other Pennsylvania towns have traditions that play off their names. In Mechanicsburg, they drop a wrench. In Dillsburg, they drop a pickle.


Americans drink around 360 million glasses of sparkling wine on New Year’s.

Corks can fly out of the bottle at a speed of 25 miles per hour, so it’s best to open bottles at a 45-degree angle (away from yourself and others).


The New Year’s kiss started with the Romans.

Although things got a little friskier back then, ancient Romans are credited with the kissing tradition because of their Saturnalia festival. It was a celebration honoring Saturn, the god of time, where all social norms went out the window. Many of the celebrations influenced the Christmas and New Year’s festivities that became the focus when Christianity took over the Roman Empire.


The island nation Kiribati rings in the new year first.

Kiribati, also known as Christmas Island, is located in the Central Pacific. They celebrate throughout the nation at each village’s maneaba or meeting house, where all social and political activity takes place.


…while American Samoa is one of the last places to ring in the new year.

American Samoa is actually the second to last place to celebrate the new year behind Baker and Howland Island, which are both uninhabited. Some tourists take advantage of the time difference by flying from Samoa to American Samoa to celebrate twice.


New Year’s is terrifying for children in Akita, Japan.

There’s a local tradition called Namahage where grown men dress up like demons to scare children into behaving for their parents. They go from house to house yelling things like “Are there any crybabies at home?” or “Are naughty kids around?


If you live in Italy, wearing red underwear is considered lucky.

Wearing red underwear on New Year’s will supposedly bring good fortune in the coming year. It’s also considered the color of fertility so for those hoping to conceive, it’s considered double lucky.

RELATED: 9 Lucky Colors for New Year’s


Grapes are also supposedly lucky.

Spanish households carry on the tradition of scarfing down 12 grapes in the first 12 seconds of the new year. The grapes represent each month of the year. Rumor has it that this whole thing started as a marketing tactic for winemakers looking to sell more grapes in the winter.


And so are pork and black-eyed peas.

The fattiness of pork symbolizes wealth and the peas are believed to bring good fortune because they swell when cooked which is why they’re both popular foods to eat on New Year’s Eve.


But stay away from lobster and chicken.

Lobster and chicken are both considered bad luck foods. According to superstition, if because of a lobster’s ability to move backward and a chicken’s ability to scratch itself backwards, if you eat either on New Year’s, you won’t be able to move forward. So, bring on the bacon!


Round or ring-shaped foods hold special meaning.


Ancient Babylonians celebrated New Year’s in March.

The new year used to coincide with the arrival of spring. A 12-day festival called Akitu marked the occasion, which was more about praying than it was about finding a midnight kiss.


And Ethiopia rings in the new year on September 11.

Their calendar began in the eighth year of the common era (when our year counting started). This solar calendar derived from the Egyptians consists of 13 months.


The French invented a new calendar during the revolution.

The French Republican Calendar was used during the revolution and for 12 years after to reflect the country’s “new age of liberty.” It was designed using a decimal system and was also briefly resurrected during the Paris Commune in 1871.


AAA offers free rides home.

Don’t worry about surge pricing. If you’ve had too much to drink on New Year’s Eve (and other holidays), AAA in most states offer free rides home to people who’ve had one too many flutes of champagne to drive.


A song that takes 1,000 years to play launched on January 1, 2000.

Composer Jem Finer wrote the piece called “Longplayer,” which can be heard at London’s Trinity Buoy Wharf (or over this live stream). It’s being performed by singing bowls and is set to start all over again immediately after it finishes in 2999.


Antarctica hosts an Annual New Year’s Music Festival.

Anarctica’s annual IceStock music festival may be one of the coolest (pun intended) ways to spend New Year’s. The event is held at McMurdo Station, Antarctica when the local population balloons to over 1,200 people during their summer months.

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Scoop Sky is a blog with all the enjoyable information on many subjects, including fitness and health, technology, fashion, entertainment, dating and relationships, beauty and make-up, sports and many more.

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