New Year’s starts January 1, obvious for the beginning of the New Year. Why would we celebrate New Year’s? Well millions of people do it around the world. People celebrate by having parties, amazing food, and enjoying time with good friends. The earliest record of New Year’s celebrations happened 4,000 years ago in Babylon. The Babylonians celebrated New Year’s because of the first new moon following the vernal equinox (a time when the sky is half shining and half dark). They celebrated with a massive feast which lasted 11 days.
Civilizations around the globe have advanced calendars, stating the first day of the year to an agricultural or astromical event. For example, in Egypt the year began with the annual flooding of the Nile, which coincided with the rising of the star Sirius. The Romans had a calendar that had 10 months and 304 days, with each New Year beginning at the vernal equinox. Over the centuries the calendar fell out of sync with the sun and in 46 B.C., the emperor Julius Caesar decided to solve the problem by the consulting with the most brilliant astronomers and mathematicians of his time. Julius then introduced his own calendar, which resembles the Gregorian calendar most of the world uses.
As part of this new calendar, Caesar instituted January 1 as New Year’s. In honor of the god Janus, the Roman god of beginnings. In many countries, New Year’s celebration starts December 31- New Year’s eve- and continue into the early hours of January 1. Traditional New Year’s dishes include lentils in Italy and black eyed peas in the United States.
In the United States, the most iconic New Year’s tradition is the dropping of a giant ball in New York City’s Times Square at the stroke of midnight. Millions of people around the world watch the event, which has taken place almost every year since 1907. It went from a 700-pound-iron and wood orb to a 12 feet in diameter brightly patterned ball weighing 12,000 pounds.
Some traditions for us is to spend our New Year’s playing with firework sparklers, drinking sparkling cider, watching the annual ball drop in New York, and watching movies with friends and family. Some of us go to visit family members across the country, others stay home and cook a meal with the family. Traditions vary across the country for Americans, every family has a different one.