New Year S Traditions And Practices

New Year”s Eve and New Year”s Day are filled with traditions. In the United States, we borrow some of our customs from other cultures. Others, however, are original. With so many American New Year”s traditions, there”s something for everyone! On New Year”s Eve and New Year”s Day in the United States, you can enjoy drinks, song and even personal rituals, such as making New Year”s resolutions.

Why not add some fun to your New Year”s celebrations with the following traditions!

Singing Auld Lang Syne

Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote the song Auld Lang Syne in the late 1700s. Roughly translated, the phrase “auld lang syne” means “times gone by.” However, some people simply interpret it to mean “the good old days.” The song is traditionally sung on New Year”s Eve, due to the fact that it calls upon us to remember our friends from the past with kindness.

Singing Auld Lang Syne became a tradition when 1920s bandleader Guy Lombardo heard Scottish immigrants singing it. Lombardo played it at his New Year”s Eve events in New York City, where it was broadcast on the radio and, later, on television. The broadcasts made Auld Lang Syne a New Year”s Eve standard.

Auld Lang Syne is still played today, although most people don”t know the words. The melody, however, is ingrained in the public consciousness and is closely associated with the New Year”s holiday.

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, we”ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld lang syne?

And here”s a hand, my trusty friend, and gie”s a hand o” thine. We”ll take a cup o” kindness yet for auld lang syne.

Making New Year”s Resolutions

Resolutions are another tradition particular to the New Year”s holiday. The tradition of making New Years resolutions is believed to date back to ancient Babylon, when Babylonians vowed to return all borrowed items, particularly farm equipment, in order to start the year with a clean slate.

Today, common New Year”s resolutions made by Americans include:

  • finding a mate
  • getting a promotion or new job
  • losing weight or getting more exercise
  • quitting smoking or another bad habit
  • taking a class to learn a new skill or hobby.

Of course, while many Americans make New Year”s resolutions, far fewer actually keep them.

Counting Down to New Year”s

At Times Square in New York City, the New Year”s Eve countdown has been a major party since 1904. Today, approximately 1 million people gather in Times Square to watch the ball drop. Additionally, millions of people around the world watch on television as the giant crystal ball at One Times Square descends a pole, marking the arrival of the New Year when it reaches the bottom.

Countdowns have become traditions at other New Year”s celebrations as well. People count down to the New Year in bars, clubs and restaurants and at people”s houses.

Sharing New Year”s Kisses and Toasts

Traditionally, people kiss at the stroke of midnight on New Year”s Eve in the hope of having luck and love in the coming year. While it is traditional to kiss a spouse or significant other, many people simply opt to kiss a friend or even a stranger when the clock strikes midnight.

In addition to sharing a kiss, many Americans celebrate New Year”s with a champagne toast. Some people toast and then eat 12 grapes to secure prosperity in the 12 months of the upcoming year.

Resources

Brunner, B. (n.d.). New Year”s Traditions. Retrieved September 26, 2007, from the Fact Monster Web site: http://www.factmonster.com/spot/newyearcelebrations.html.

Matthews, J. (1998). The Winter Soltice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas. Chicago: Quest Books.

Encyclopdia Britannica (2007). New Year Festival. Retrieved September 26, 2007, from the Encyclopdia Britannica Online Web site: http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9055527.

Tournament of Roses Parade (2007). Pasadena Tournament of Roses. Retrieved October 3, 2007, from the Tournament of Roses Parade Web site: http://www.tournamentofroses.com/.