As the end of December draws near many of us, frogs and humans alike, are giving careful thought to what we might want to improve on in the coming year. Since making New Year's resolutions is something many folks do, I thought we'd take a look today at some interesting facts about the New Year's resolution tradition.
1. The first New Year's celebration dates back 4,000 years ago to Julius Caesar, the first Roman Emperor. He named January 1st a national holiday and named it after Janus, the Roman god of doors and gates. Janus had two faces, one looking forward and one looking back. Caesar felt that a month named after this god would be fitting.
2. Forty-five percent of Americans make resolutions. The top ones each year are: to lose weight, get organized, to spend less and save more, and to quit smoking. I've made all of these resolutions at one time or another, with the exception of smoking. Unfortunately, twenty-five percent of those resolutions are abandoned by the second week in January.
3. Be sure to eat leafy greens on New Year's Day. Tradition says that the more leafy greens a person eats, the more prosperity he or she will experience (what an incentive for staying healthy!). Tradition also says that legumes bring prosperity because beans and peas look like coins. No wonder why so many people eat black-eyed peas on January 1.
4. Many people celebrate the New Year by popping the cork on a bottle of champagne. Americans drink close to 360 million glasses of sparkling wine over the holidays. The bubbly stuff dates back to the 17th century when the cork was invented.
5. About one million people gather in New York City's Time Square to watch the ball drop on New Year's Eve. The ball came about because the City of New York placed a ban on using fireworks. The first ball in 1907 was 700 pounds and was lit with 100 25-watt lights. The current ball puts the old one to shame (thanks to technology). Today, it is covered in 2,688 crystals, is lit by 32,000 LED lights, weighs 11,875 pounds and is 12 feet in diameter.
6. Auld Lang Syne is the most sung and played song on New Year's Eve. Poet Robert Burns wrote it in 1788. Though most people do not know the words to Auld Lang Syne, the overall message is that people have to remember their loved ones, dead or alive, and keep them close in their hearts.
7. Baby New Year is the symbol most associated with the holiday, Baby New Year is often seen in a diaper, black top hat, and a sash showing the numbers of the new year. This New Year myth states that he matures into an old man during the year.
8. Make sure you are surrounded by friends and loved ones on New Year's Eve. This tradition says that the first person you come across in the new year could set the tone for the next 12 months. So be sure to keep your favorite people in view as the clock strikes midnight!
9. At the Mummer's parade in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 10,000 participants step through City Hall and perform in unique costumes. The parade dates back to mid-17th-century, incorporating elements from Irish, German, English, Swedish and other European heritages. The parade itself is divided into five divisions: a comic division, wench brigades, fancy division, string bands, and fancy bridges. This is one of the most famous of all the New Year's parades. I found this last act one of the most interesting.
10. According to the National Insurance Crime Prevention Bureau, more vehicles are stolen on New Year's Day than any other holiday. You might think your old car would be safe, right? Not quite. In 2011, the 1994 Honda Accord was the most stolen car. Always leave your car in a well-lighted and populated area, whenever possible.
And here are a couple of bonus fun facts from around the globe.
11. The year in Ethiopia is 13 months long. They celebrate their New Year on September 11th.
12. In Korea and some other Asian countries, when you are born, you are considered one year old and everyone’s age increases one year on New Year’s. So if you were born on December 29th, on New Year’s day, you will be considered 2 years old.
13. There is a music festival every New Year’s Eve in the Antarctic called ‘Icestock.'
14. In Thailand, they celebrate their traditional New Year’s Day with a state-sponsored multiple day water fight.
15. Beethoven’s 9th Symphony was introduced to Japan by German POWs in WWI (who played it for them), and it is now a national tradition to perform it every New Year’s.
I hope you enjoyed these fun facts about New Year's as much as I did. Tomorrow's blog will be our January 2019 Calendar of Special Days. I know you won't want to miss that! Until then, I wish you love, joy, and PEACE.