Did you know New Year is the oldest holiday celebrated in our history? Yes it is almost a 4000 year old tradition. What else? We remember it as the first day of the month January, quite obviously as it is considered as the first month of the year.
It is also the time for resolutions, which people make use of the opportunity to get rid of things they think unwanted. What can be added more to it is the celebrations and parties with lighthearted moments, across the world marking the end of a 365 day long run, with another in the waiting.
After all, it is an occasion during which we motivate ourselves to become better and expect the future to be kind with us in all respects. There are many more facts that would be interesting to know. Below are the three most fascinating facts that you should be informed about New Year.
The melody of New Year’s eve
The singing of ‘auld lang syne’ is a tradition at the New Year’s eve mostly in the English speaking countries and the phrase means ‘times gone by’. The song was written by the national poet of Scotland, Robert Burns and is based on a folk song. He says that he didn’t write the song but received it from an old man.
The beginning of the song poses a question whether it is good to forget the old times and the song is considered as an advocate of long standing friendships.
The song widely finds a position in the agenda of events marking the beginning or ending, including graduation, funerals, farewells etc. Works of many renowned poets of the world have been inspired by this song.
The cover versions of the song has been recorded by many including the famous- Jimi Hendrix, Billy Joel, and Elvis Presley. The original lyrics in a 200 year old sheet of paper is protected even now in Mitchell Library, Glasgow.
Times Square Ball drop
Every year almost 1 million people assemble to see the event of ball drop at the New York’s Times Square. The ball travels down 141 ft through a flag pole, starting at 11.59 pm and resting at 12 midnight to mark the New Year’s beginning.
The first ball drop event took place to welcome the year 1908, even though celebrations at the Times Square began in 1904 and was conducted by The New York Times to celebrate the inauguration of its headquarters.
The first ball weighed 700 pounds and was 5 feet in diameter illuminated with 100 incandescent bulbs and since then the design has been changed four times, thus the ball being used now is the fifth one.
The recent ball was designed in the year 2008 and consists of 32,000 LED lights producing nearly 16 million colors and billions of computerized lighting patterns. The event didn’t occur in 1942 and 1943 due to war time restrictions.
January 1 is not the ancient New Year day
> First New Year day celebration dates around 4000 years back by the Babylonians and they named it as Akitu, which is the first new moon day after the vernal equinox. Equinox is the day in which the duration of sunlight equals the darker times and it occurs twice in a year. Vernal equinox occurs during the spring season and the other during the autumn.
Calendars can be of two types, one based on the Sun and the other on the Moon. In 46 BC, Julius Caesar introduced a calendar(Julian) based on the Sun, replacing the one based on the Moon, shifting the New Year’s day from March 1 to January 1. In order to do so, he had to add 90 days more to the year 46 BC. During the Middle Ages, the Christian Church did away with many of the ancient customs thus setting back the New Year’s Day and hence as a result, New Year was celebrated in different days in different culture.
For instance Muharram, the Islamic New Year is based on a lunar calendar. So is the Chinese New Year that lasts for a month, occurs during January or February of the year.
In 1582, Pope Gregory XIIIth introduced our present day Gregorian calendar making January 1st, the New Year day.
Image Source: CNN