On New Year’s Eve, social gatherings of all sizes are organized to mark the end of one year and the start of the next. These range from small parties with family and friends to huge street parties with live entertainment, music, dancing and even public fireworks — like Times Square in New York or the party in Niagara Falls.
New Year’s is a time of reflection for events of the year about to end and a look ahead to the new one. But how much do you know about New Year’s traditions?
To give us some perspective on the New Year, History channel and Column Five has put together an informative infographic. For example, did you know that in Times Square at midnight that one ton of confetti is dropped on the crowd below? Or how about the fact that 75 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions end up quitting within the first week? Find out more stats and facts in the infographic below.
New Year’s by the numbers
Each New Year’s Eve, 1 million people gather in New York City’s Times Square to watch the famous ball drop. And close to 1 billion around the world watch it on TV. At midnight, 2,000 pounds of confetti are dropped on the crowd.
- 44 percent of American adults plan to kiss someone at the stroke of 12.
- 61 percent say a prayer on New Year’s Eve.
- 22 percent admit to falling asleep before midnight.
The Time Square Ball
- Covered in 2,688 crystals
- Lit by 32,000 LEDs
- Weights 11,875 pounds
- 12 feet in diameter
45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. What are the most popular goals?
- Lose weight
- Get organized
- Spend less and save more
- Stay fit and healthy
- Quit smoking
How long do they keep their resolutions?
- 75 percent make it 1 week
- 71 percent continue for 2 weeks
- 64 percent manage to keep their resolution for a month
- Only 46 percent continue for 25 weeks or more
New Year’s foods
Leguments and leafy greens represent money or financial forture in Italy, Germany, Ireland, and the Southern United States.
Pork represents progress and prosperity in countries like Cuba, Austria, Hungary, and Portugal.
In the Netherlands, Mexico, Greece and others, ring-shaped cakes and pastries represent that the year has come full circle.
And in Japan, long noodles represent long life.
Many people celebrate the new year by popping open a bottle of bubbly. In fact, Americans consume close to 360 million glasses of sparkling wine during the holiday season.
The history of celebrations
Ringing in the New Year dates back 4,000 years to the Babylonians, who celebrated it at the first full moon after the spring equinox. The ancient Egyptian year began with the annual flooding of the Nile. Julius Caesar made January 1 the first day of the year in 46 BCE, but England and its American colonies wouldn’t do the same until 1752.
Dating back to 1890, the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, features floats festooned with 18 million flowers. And at the Mummers Parade in Philadelphia, 10,000 participants march through the city and perform in elaborate costumes.
London, England greets the New Year with fireworks over the Thames. In 2012, to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games, an extra large display included 10,000 individual fireworks.
In Australia, over 1 million people line Sydney Harbour’s 40 miles of shoreline to watch the fireworks show.