New Year: what it means and how to make it your year!

Celebrating the New Year is not a new thing, it’s something many of us do every year, but do you know the history behind it? Did you know why the ball was dropped at midnight? Why do we celebrate on the first of January? And what other people do around the world? The new year started not on January 1 but in March by the Babylonians, the day was determined by the new moon following the vernal equinox—an equal amount of sunlight and darkness. Around the world, civilizations had their New Year set on a special event for example in Egypt they used the Nile. When the new year would start it was due to the annual flooding of the Nile.

Another example is the Lunar New Year. The Lunar New Year begins once the second new moon transpires after the winter solstice. Around the world different countries celebrate on different days or the span of days and different ways of celebrating.

The Chinese New Year, also known for the name the Lunar New Year and Spring Festival, is celebrated between January 21 and February 20th. Some of the celebrations feature sharing a meal with friends and family, wearing traditional clothing, colorful dragon parades, lighting fireworks, and decorations of lanterns. The Chinese New Year is also dedicated every year to one animal based on the 12 Chinese zodiac signs. 2024 will be the year of the wood dragon.

Another celebration of the New Year is the Persian New Year also known as Nowruz. It marks the beginning of spring and is celebrated on March 20th or 21st. They show their celebration by visiting friends and family and also having what is called the huff table. They usually display seven items including some type of grass for rebirth, dried fruit for love, apples for beauty and health, garlic for medicine and self-care, sweet pudding for wealth and fertility, vinegar for patience and wisdom, and a Persian spice for sunrise.

But why do Americans celebrate on the first, and why do we celebrate the way we do? We follow the Romans with the Julian calendar introduced by Julius Caesar. Caesar named January after the god Janus which was the Roman god of new beginnings. It was said that his two faces allowed him to see into the past and the future. But why do we drop a giant ball at midnight?

The ball signifies the passing of time. The ball drop started over 100 years ago based on a 19th-century maritime tradition. Ships would use the balls to adjust their clocks to the local time. Over time the ball itself has changed from a 700-pound iron and wood orb to a brightly sparkly pattern sphere 12 feet in diameter. In today’s time, different towns and cities try to emulate the New York Times Times Square tradition by dropping items that represent them. For example, in Pennsylvania, they drop pickles. In Georgia Tallapoosa.

Many different countries celebrate the new year in different ways but it’s all clear that we celebrate as a time of renewing ourselves and deciding to make some changes for our lives. Take out the bad and bring on the good.

Sometimes we end up making our goals and revolutions too specific or hard on ourselves when they’re meant to be for us. And if you don’t finish your goal, that is okay because it is a goal for you. For example, my goal this year is to work on the things that I love and make time for them. This goal is enough for me that I can make whatever I want at the same time. It doesn’t put pressure on me to make it into a competition or a number of days. It just lets me know that this is something I want to do and make sure I have time for it.

However, you celebrate New Year’s. Just make sure you have fun with it and make sure to make the year something special for you.

By Seán Colbert

My name is Seán Colbert. I am 19, and working towards making my passion a reality. I love writing and being able to share that experience with others or telling stories. Writing is so important in the world and I want to be a part of that impact.

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