Holidays: New Year’s Eve Trivia

It’s almost time: Bring in 2012
with New Year’s trivia … and cats

It’s the end of another year, and it’s time to celebrate! As one of the year’s most festive holidays, New Year’s is an age-old tradition which gathers friends, family, neighbors and even perfect strangers to ring in new beginnings.

It’s a time where resolutions fly with the confetti and memories of the year are shared, in both its trials and successes, with hopes to start anew.

The holiday has its origin among the ancient Babylonians, who are said to have started the tradition of resolutions — returning all possessions which had been borrowed throughout the year — some 4,000 years ago.

Celebrated worldwide, the New Year offers universal traditions of fireworks, singing and a special midnight kiss. The United States’ tradition of dropping the New Year’s ball in Time Square has stayed true, as well as others including Scotland’s celebration with hogmanay — a traditional cake given on New Year’s — and Italy’s tradition of wearing red underwear as a signal of good luck.

Check out some more fun facts about New Year’s below:

  • The Romans dedicated Jan. 1 to Janus, the Roman god of gates, doors and beginnings. The god was said to have two faces, one looking forward and the other looking backward.
  • Firecrackers and noisemakers are a tradition dating back centuries, said to have first been used to scare away evil spirits for the new year.
  • The tradition of the New Year’s Baby comes from ancient Greek tradition celebrating the fertility god who was allegedly reborn each year.
  • It is said that the first visitors seen after the New Year would bring good or bad luck, which is why many people celebrate with their friends and family.
  • Different cultures have traditions of eating certain types of food for prosperity and good fortune on New Year’s Day. Black-eyed peas and cabbage are eaten in cultures around the world, including the U.S., to signify good luck and fortune. Other foods, including ham and grapes in certain parts of the world, bring progress as time passes.
  • The most common New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight. About 60 percent of all Americans will establish that resolution.
  • “Auld Lang Syne” is sung at midnight to toast in the New Year. The song was composed by Robert Burns sometime in the 1700s. The term means “old long ago” or “the good old days.”
  • Dec. 31, 1907, saw the very first ball lowering in Times Square. The first New York ball was 700 pounds, and five feet in diameter. The ball was made from wood and iron.
  • Today, the round ball designed by Waterford Crystal weighs 11,875 pounds, is 12 feet in diameter and is bedazzled with 2,668 Waterford crystals.

Don’t forget to bring in the year with cheer — check out New Year’s montages by musical felines below. Happy New Year’s, Bobcats!

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