It’s that time again! The ubiquitous New Year’s Eve…an occasion steeped in traditions and symbolism. While some of us prefer a quite evening of reflection, and others prefer a massive crowd, December 31st is the day for most of the world to ring in the New Year.
However, historically, New Year’s Eve was not on December 31st. Beginning with the Ancient Greeks, originally New Year’s Eve was held with the new moon after June 21. Before the time of Julius Caesar the Roman New Year started on March 1. In most European countries during the Middle Ages the New Year began on March 25, the day of the Feast of the Annunciation.
New Year’s Eve
Today, New Year’s Eve Celebrations are high spirted, noisy occasions that are made up of sights and sounds that are synonymous with New Year’s Eve. Ringing church bells, blowing horns, tooting whistles, shrieking sirens all echo all over the world. Well known American Traditions are to toast in the New Year with champagne and kiss someone (sometimes a perfect stranger) at the stroke of 12:01am.
According to National Geographic, here are some more notorious celebrations and there traditions held (and sometimes heard) around the world.
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
New Year’s Eve in New York’s Times Square defines the evening for hundreds of millions around the globe who watch on television, wishing they were there. A million revelers squeeze into the city’s neon epicenter where Broadway and Seventh Avenue come together, waiting for the Waterford crystal LED ball to drop from the former New York Times Building, for which the iconic square is named. It’s an American tradition more than 100 years old.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
Ring in the New Year casino style in kitschy Las Vegas, where fireworks blast over Paris Las Vegas, the MGM Grand, the Bellagio, and the array of other casino hotels on the famous Strip. The city buzzes with tens of thousands who come in for special concerts and performances with the biggest stars, until the sun comes up over the surrounding desert.
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
Réveillon, Rio’s New Year’s celebration, is one of the world’s largest. Dressed in white like Candomblé priestesses, millions of locals and visitors line the city’s miles of beaches, throwing flowers into the waves at midnight for the African sea goddess Yemanjá, whose traditions have become mixed with the Virgin Mary. Afterward, the streets, bars, and restaurants fill with parties, dancing, and music.
Millions of eager Londoners line the Thames waterfront and gather in Trafalgar Square, waiting for the city to explode in a dazzling display of sparks and color. At midnight, the tower around Big Ben pulses with fiery blasts timed for the 12 strokes of the hour. All eyes then turn to the London Eye as the famous wheel produces a swirling fireworks and light show timed to British rock music echoing through the city.
The City of Light becomes a city of fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Hundreds of thousands line the Champs-Élysées, Champagne bottles in hand, for a view to the Eiffel Tower. At midnight, fireworks burst from the entire length of its iron structure, in one of this evening’s most beautiful displays anywhere. Other gathering spots with great views include the steps of Sacré-Couer church and the Trocadéro.
Madrileños celebrate the New Year by swallowing 12 grapes—one for each stroke of the clock at midnight. Finishing them on time is considered to be a sign of good luck in the upcoming year. Tens of thousands gather in front of the clock in Puerta del Sol plaza for the annual ritual and line Gran Via to watch fireworks.
Each New Year’s is a promise that everything will be better in the capital of formerly war-torn Lebanon. Thousands gather to watch the light show on the city’s 1933 art deco clock tower in Nejmeh Square, the heart of central Beirut. At midnight, couples kiss and fireworks burst, shining over a mix of floodlit church steeples and mosque minarets in this eclectic Levantine metropolis.
On New Year’s Eve in Tokyo, streets and restaurants teem with people, many eating buckwheat noodles to ensure health and happiness in the New Year. Temples ring bells as a countdown to midnight, adding a dreamy quality to the celebration. Stay in town through January 2, one of only two days when the emperor opens the palace grounds to the public.
Everyone comes to the waterfront in Sydney to celebrate New Year’s Eve. The iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and nearby buildings ignite at midnight with one of the world’s most spectacular fireworks productions.
Whatever your plans are this year, we here at Alpine Bakery and Trattoria, wish you a healthy and very Happy New Year!