Back to the Future. It's very fitting that the first month of the New Year is named after a god who looks to the future and the past. The month of January is named after the Roman god Janus, who has two faces, one looking forward and one looking backward.
Say what? Does anybody really get the words right on that song people sing when the clock strikes 12? The traditional song sung at midnight on New Year’s is called “Auld Lang Syne,” which means “times gone by.” It was written by Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788. Great Scott!
Oooooh, shiny. The dropping of the New Year’s Eve Ball on New York’s Times Square is almost a century-old-tradition. And the first ball, which weighed 700 pounds, was dropped on December 31, 1907. At midnight, approximately 3,000 pounds of confetti is dropped on the crowd in Times Square every year.
Anything is "possumble." Who needs a ball of lights when you have ... a rodent? The town of Brasstown, North Carolina traditionally lowers a possum instead of a giant ball of lights on New Year’s Eve. That tradition is known as “The Possum Drop.” ... Yes, a possum.
Red underwear = good luck? That's right, apparently people in Italy wear red underwear on New Year’s Day to bring them good luck throughout the year. So let's go buy some red undies and find out if it works!
Making a splash. In the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, people flock to the beaches on New Year’s Eve and drop backwards into the breaking waves as the clock strikes 12. This tradition is believed to keep bad spirits at bay throughout the new year. After what Hurricane Maria tragically did to the island, they better hit the beach!
Russians love to party! So much so that they celebrate the New Year twice. Once on January 1st and then again on January 14th! Guess there "ain't no party like a Russian party cause a Russian party don't stop!"
Happy Moon Year. While firecrackers are traditional of pretty much any New Year's celebration, China does not celebrate a traditional New Year. Firecrackers in China symbolize “good luck in the coming year.” But the Chinese New Year is celebrated during the second full moon after the winter solstice rather than on the first day of January.
What's the "Rosh"? The Jewish New Year is known as Rosh Hashanah. And it's a tradition to eat apples and honey on this day. "Rosh" is Hebrew for "head"; "ha" is the definite article ("the"); and "shanah" means year. So "Rosh HaShanah" means 'head [of] the year', referring to the Jewish day of new year.
Happy Feet. A testament to how big a celebration New Year's Eve is globally would be the fact that it's even celebrated in Antarctica! That's right, there's a music festival every New Year’s Eve in the Antarctic called "Icestock"! Because who wouldn't want to bring in the New Year with a bunch of penguins, right?
Kiss-kiss, hooray! Ready for some midnight loving on New Year's Eve/Day? It is said that the traditional midnight kiss when the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve has something to do with the first person you come across in the new year setting the tone for the next 12 months. So you better choose who you kiss wisely!
Lock em up! Before you start your New Year's festivities, make sure you set your vehicle's alarm and keep your keys with you. Because according to data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, more vehicles are stolen on New Year’s Day than any other holiday. So yeah, you might be saying "goodbye" to more than just the old year.
Sin City, Mouse City and Big Apple City. Where are the best places in the United States to ring in the New Year? According to CBS.com, some of the top places in the United States to celebrate New Year’s Eve include Las Vegas, Disney World and of course, New York City. Hey wait, what about Tampa Bay?
"When in Rome"? According to History.com, Roman Emperor Julius Caesar declared January 1st as a national holiday 4,000 years ago. So even when not in Rome, we're still doing as the Romans do.
"This will be the year, I swear!" Statistics about the top New Year's resolutions include losing weight (#1); getting organized; spending less money and saving more; staying fit and healthy; and quitting smoking. So how did that go for you last year?
A bubbly start. It is estimated that Americans drink close to 360 million glasses of sparkling wine during New Year's Eve celebrations. That's a lot of bottom's up!
That tonight's gonna be a good night. Most New Year's traditions are believed to ensure good luck for the coming year. And that includes some of the foods that are consumed. For example, many places in the United States believe the tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day brings good luck for the rest of the year. Will that tradition amount to a hill of beans?
Happy New Fear! The year 2000 instilled fear to the planet in the form of a thing called the "Y2K problem." Through media-generated paranoia, it was believed by millions on December 31, 1999 that when the clock would strike 12, the entire world would shut down. Computers would stop working. Planes would fall out of the sky! Dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria! ... Umm, yeah, we're still here!
Y2Space! This one is kind of like the Y2K problem in which it was believed computers couldn't roll over into a new millennium. Only it's real. Until 2006, the Space Shuttle never flew on New Year’s day or eve because its computers couldn’t handle a year rollover. Now that's out of this world!
AAA for the AA. In an effort to reduce drunk driving, the AAA will tow your car and give you a ride home for free on New Year's Eve/Day, even if you’re not a member. It's not available in all states, so check here before you get in gear. But seriously, just get a designated driver. Or grab an Uber, whatever. Just don't drink and drive!