There are many Traditions for the New Year from different countries. Here are some of the more popular modern and ancient New Year Traditions:
Making a New Year’s resolutions.
This New Year Traditions dates back to the early Babylonians. Popular modern resolutions include the promise to lose weight or quit smoking. The early Babylonian’s most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment. Do you have a New Years resolution? Do you keep your New Years resolution?
The Tournament of Roses Parade.
The Tournament of Roses Parade is a popular New Year Traditions and dates back to 1886. The members of the Valley Hunt Club decorated their carriages with flowers. It celebrated the ripening of the orange crop in California. The parade is now held every January 1 in Pasadena CA. Read more about the parade: Tournament of Roses Parade
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.
Using a Baby to signify the New Year.
One of the New Year Traditions is the using of a baby to signify the new year began in Greece around 600 BC. It was their tradition to celebrate their god of wine, Dionysus, by parading a baby in a basket. The baby in a basket represented 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.
Party hardy is a part of New Year Traditions around the world. It is the thought that one could affect the luck they would have throughout the coming year by what they did on the first day of the year. For that reason, it has become common for people to celebrate the first few minutes of a brand new year in the company of family and friends. Parties will often last into the middle of the night after the ringing in of a new year. It was once believed that the first visitor on New Year’s Day would bring either good luck or bad luck the rest of the year. It was particularly lucky if that visitor happened to be a tall dark-haired man.
Traditional New Year foods are also thought to bring luck. Many cultures believe that anything in the shape of a ring is good luck, because it symbolizes “coming to a full circle,” completing a year’s cycle. The Dutch believe that eating donuts on New Year’s Day will bring good fortune.
Many parts of the U.S. celebrate the new year by consuming black-eyed peas. These legumes are typically accompanied by either hog jowls or ham. Black-eyed peas and other legumes have been considered good luck in many cultures. The hog is considered lucky because it symbolizes prosperity. Cabbage is another “good luck” vegetable that is consumed on New Year’s Day. Cabbage leaves are also considered a sign of prosperity, being representative of paper currency. In some regions rice is a luckyfood that is eaten on New Year’s Day.
A Champagne Toast:
One of the most common New Year Traditions is the Champagne toast at midnight to ring in the new year. Toasting can be traced back to the ancient Romans and Greeks who would pour wine, to be shared among those attending a religious function, from a common pitcher. The host would drink first to be sure his guests that the wine was not poisoned. Today a champagne toast is a New Year Tradition.
Auld Lang Syne:
The song, “Auld Lang Syne,” is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English speaking country in the world. At least partially written by Robert Burns in the 1700′s, it was first published in 1796 after Burns’ death. An old Scottish tune, “Auld Lang Syne” literally means “old long ago,” or simply, “the good old days.” The lyrics can be found here.