A look at the history of New Year’s

According to History.com, civilizations have been staging celebrations surrounding the close of a current year and the beginning of a new one for at least 4,000 years. In that sense, New Year’s Day festivities are nothing new, but there is something inherently powerful about closing the year out on a positive note. New Year’s is a time for simultaneously reflecting on what has come to pass and for looking at what’s ahead.

The beauty of the new year is that all the hopes and dreams of the coming year are on the horizon.

Today, common modern New Year’s traditions include attending parties, eating special New Year’s foods, making resolutions for the new year and enjoying massive firework displays. By far the most iconic New Year’s tradition is watching the ball drop in New York City’s Times Square at midnight, which marks the exact moment last year ends and the new one begins. Millions of people around the world have tuned in to watch the event every single year since the spectacle was started in 1907. Over time, the ball itself has evolved from a basic 700-pound iron-and-wood orb to a brightly patterned sphere, 12 feet in diameter and weighing in at nearly 12,000 pounds.

Regardless of how one plans to celebrate New Year’s, its significance has not diminished in the slightest over four millennia. New Year’s pulls at something deep in our base human nature, namely our species insatiable appetite for future challenges and to reflect on past accomplishments.


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