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New Year Celebration is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. In the years around 2000 BC, the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon (actually the first visible cresent) after the Vernal Equinox (first day of spring). The beginning of spring is a logical time to start a new year. After all, it is the season of rebirth, of planting new crops, and of blossoming. January 1, on the other hand, has no astronomical nor agricultural significance. It is purely arbitrary. The Babylonians celebrated the New Year for eleven days. Each day had its own particular mode of celebration, but it is safe to say that modern New Year's Eve festivities pale in comparison. The Romans continued to observe the New Year in late March, but their calendar was continually tampered with by various emperors so that the calendar soon became out of synchronization with the sun. In order to set the calendar right, the Roman senate, in 153 BC, declared January 1 to be the beginning of the new year. But tampering continued until Julius Caesar, in 46 BC, established what has come to be known as the Julian Calendar. It again established January 1 as the new year. But in order to synchronize the calendar with the sun, Caesar had to let the previous year drag on for 445 days.
 
The tradition of making resolutions dates back to the early Babylonians. Popular modern resolutions might include the promise to lose weight or quit smoking. The early Babylonian's most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment. The Tournament of Roses Parade dates back to 1886. In that year, members of the Valley Hunt Club decorated their carriages with flowers. It celebrated the ripening of the orange crop in California. Although the Rose Bowl football game was first played as a part of the Tournament of Roses in 1902, it was replaced by Roman chariot races the following year. In 1916, the football game returned as the sports centerpiece of the festival.

The tradition of using a baby to signify the new year was begun in Greece around 600 BC. It was their tradition at that time to celebrate their god of wine, Dionysus, by parading a baby in a basket, representing the annual rebirth of that god as the spirit of fertility. Early Egyptians also used a baby as a symbol of rebirth. Although the early Christians denounced the practice as pagan, the popularity of the baby as a symbol of rebirth forced the Church to reevaluate its position. The Church finally allowed its members to celebrate the new year with a baby, which was to symbolize the birth of the baby Jesus. The use of an image of a baby with a New Years banner as a symbolic representation of the new year was brought to early America by the Germans. They had used the effigy since the fourteenth century.
 
The Scottish Hogmanay custom of singing Auld Lang Syne has become common in many countries especially at New Year. Auld Lang Syne was transcribed and published by the Scottish poet Robert Burns, based on earlier Scots ballads. Bandleader Guy Lombardo popularized the association of the song with New Year's Eve, through his annual broadcasts on radio and TV, beginning in 1929.

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



The Times Square in New York City has a ball drop hosted by the television celebrity Dick Clark on New Year’s Eve. This is broadcast all over the United States.
 
In Georgia, it's a tradition to eat black-eyed peas and turnip greens. The peas represent copper and the greens are dollars. This custom is traditional throughout the southern part of the United States. There are some variations; for example, in Texas and in Alabama, cabbage sometimes accompanies the black-eyed peas instead of turnip greens. The black-eyed peas are considered a symbol of good luck; and the cabbage, like the turnip greens, is considered a symbol of money. The cabbage can be prepared in any form; it is sometimes cooked and sometimes served as cole slaw—a salad made with thinly cut, uncooked cabbage.
 
In Wales the boys of the village get up at around 3 or 4 am on New Year's morning. They would go from house to house using an evergreen twig to sprinkle over the people and then each room of their house. This was believed to bring good luck.

In Russia, Santa is replaced with Grandfather Frost. He looks much like Santa Claus but arrives on New Year's Eve with his bag of toys. He wears blue instead of red. Father Frost can punish any evil doer by freezing them. Often kids dance around the tree, tell rhymes to Father Frost then receive their presents.
 
It is traditional in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries to eat grapes on New Year’s Eve. When the clock strikes 12 everybody has to have twelve grapes ready to eat. Each time the clock chimes, they put a grape in their mouth and by the time the clock has finished chiming, everybody has to have finished their grapes and the New Year starts. It is traditional to listen to the clock from Puerta del Sol in Madrid. This tradition started in Spain because one year when there was a big grape harvest, the king of Spain decided to give grapes to everybody to eat on New Year's Eve.
 
In Hungary they burn effigies or a scapegoat known as "Jack Straw" which represented the evils and misfortunes of the past year to burn on New Year's Eve. Jack Straw is carried around the village before being burnt.
 
In Europe, the custom of first footing is practiced. The first visitor to the house after midnight is usually supposed to bring good luck. Usually they bring a gift like money, bread, or coal, which is done to ensure the family will have plenty of these things all the year to come. The first-footer must be male, young, healthy and good looking. He must be dark-haired and he shoud be carrying a small piece of coal, money, bread, and salt. These are the symbols of wealth.
 
In Austria, New Year's Eve is called Sylvesterabend, in Belgium, Sint Sylvester Vooranvond. This is in honor of the Eve of Saint Sylvester. New Year's Eve family parties are thrown. They make a punch made of cinnamon, sugar, and red wine in honor of him. Taverns and inns are decorated with evergreen wreaths. Confetti, streamers, and champagne are also part of New Year's Eve.

Just at midnight, some famous temples in Japan ring 108 sounds with a temple bell. This meaning is from a traditional legend. It says that there are 108 desires regarding sense, feeling, and time in every person. In order to erase these desires, we ring 108 sounds because people used to believe that these sounds were effective for them.


Arabic: Kul 'aam u antum salimoun

Chinese: Chu Shen Tan

Czechoslavakia: Scastny Novy Rok

Dutch: Gullukkig Niuw Jaar

Finnish: Onnellista Uutta Vuotta

French: Bonne Annee

German: Prosit Neujahr

Greek: Eftecheezmaenos o Kaenooryos hronos

Hebrew: L'Shannah Tovah Tikatevu

Hindi: Niya Saa Moobaarak

Irish (Gaelic): Bliain nua fe mhaise dhuit

Italian: Buon Capodanno

Khmer: Sua Sdei tfnam tmei

Laotian: Sabai dee pee mai

Polish: Szczesliwego Nowego Roku

Portuguese: Feliz Ano Novo Russian: S Novim Godom

Serbo-Croatian: Scecna nova godina

Spanish: Feliz Ano Neuvo Prospero Ano Nuevo

Turkish: Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun

Vietnamese: Cung-Chuc Tan-Xuan

Pilipino: Manigong Bagong Taon

   
 
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