So, now we have officially entered 2017. New Year’s celebrations are in full swing across the world since Saturday night. But do you know New Year is the oldest holiday that started in Babylon and is being celebrated for almost 4000 years!
Here are 10 interesting facts about this celebration:
1. It was in 153 BC that Jan 1 was officially announced as the date for New Year by a Roman senate. However the date was not accepted by public till the Roman general Julius Caesar again made it a national holiday in 46 BC.
2. Before Jan 1 was revived by a Gregorian (Christian) calendar in 1582, Dec 25 and March 25 were more popular as New Year dates.
3. In ancient Persia, gifting eggs on this eve was said to bring productiveness, while in many South American nations, it is a tradition to gift and wear new underwear as soon as the clock strikes 12 at midnight to have a good love life.
4. Gifting rings or circular-shaped objects on this eve is seen as a good omen in many cultures as these are associated with human life coming to a full circle.
5. In Spain, it is a custom to eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. The 12 grapes represent 12 months and is said to bring good luck.
6. Tradition across countries also suggest eating green vegetables, especially leafy ones, on New Year to bring prosperity. Some people also consume coin-shaped vegetables like beans, peas and black-eyed peas to welcome more fortune in the coming year.
7. In Denmark, people keep some glass or earthen plates at their doors on Dec 31 night hoping they will be broken the next day. Well, broken plates on this occasion mean better luck for the Danish!
8. In Puerto Rico and Colombia, people make a life-size male doll and stuff it with old clothes and photos, only to burn it down on New Year. They believe, thus they are getting rid of all unpleasant memories of the past year.
9. In Brazil, it is customary to wear white on New Year’s eve to have a peaceful year ahead. They also jump seven times on the sea-shore while scattering flowers on the waves at midnight and make wishes to have them fulfilled on New Year!
10. At midnight on the New Year’s eve, mostly English-speaking countries like Scotland, sing a traditional folk song – “Auld Lang Syne” – to bid farewell to the passing year. The lyrics were written by Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788.
(Sources: MensXP.com, Patch, CNN)
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.