Time and tide indeed wait for none. It seems as if we were enthusiastically rejoicing the new year’s day 2021 not long ago. Currently, we are eagerly anticipating welcoming the new year 2022 with wide-open arms. A few days of waiting and we will already have stepped into a fresh start to mark a fresh beginning.
The past few years have been hectic due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The global pandemic not only induced several restrictions on celebrations and gatherings but also aggravated the mental plight of numerous people. However, we still look forward to celebrating the new year 2022 with utmost zeal and positivity.
Speaking of new year celebrations, did you know that the new year celebration culture began in Mesopotamia, around c. 2000 B.C.? What has currently become a tradition and a ritual dates back to more than thousands of years ago. The early celebrations began more than thousands of years ago and look how elegantly it has evolved! So, how did the culture of the new year celebration begin in the first place?
Celebrating the coming of a fresh year: The history of New Year Celebrations
Although the early celebrations began around 2000 B.C., they actually occurred during the vernal equinox (in mid-March). According to the calendar of that time, the vernal equinox was considered the start of the new year. Several other dates tied to the seasons were also used by various ancient cultures. The Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians began their new year with the fall equinox, while the Greeks celebrated it on the winter solstice.
During that time, people organized an eleven-day festival. As per historical records, the Ancient Mesopotamian people performed rituals. They celebrated the religious victory of the sky god Marduk over the sea goddess Tiamat. Additionally, they either crowned a new king or allowed their old king to continue his reign.
It was not always Celebrated in January!
However, the new year was not always celebrated in January. The ancient Roman calendar followed the lunar cycle and, therefore, was observed during March. The shift to January occurred in 46 B.C. when Sosigenes, an astronomer, convinced Julius Caesar to follow the solar year, instead. Hence, the new year began in January.
Moreover, observing new year’s day was partially observed in January to honor the god Janus (after whom the month was named). Since Janus had two faces, he was able to look back into the past and forward into the future simultaneously. Thus, making him a great spokesperson for the holiday we celebrate today.
Ancient root of presently common New Year Traditions
In In the 21st century, new year celebrations vary according to community and geographical locations. There are various new year traditions that originated during ancient times. For instance, the song “Auld Lang Syne” is actually an old Scottish song that is customarily sung by English-speakers on New Year’s eve. It was first published by the famous poet Robert Burns in the 1796 edition of the book, Scots Musical Museum. He transcribed it and refined some of the lyrics after he heard it sung by an old man from the Ayrshire area of Scotland—Burns’s homeland.
Today, the new year traditions have evolved with the pace of time. While some countries welcome the new year with a display of beautiful and magnificent fireworks, other countries worship their forefathers and recall them on the eve of new year.
History of the spectacular New Year Fireworks
Every year, several countries compete with each other in order to showcase the best series of firework displays. Did you know that the tradition of new year fireworks also dates back to ancient times? From Dubai to London and Australia, firework display during new year’s eve has become a tradition.
Like every other new year tradition, the display of fireworks also harbors ancient roots. Did you know that the concept of the firework custom began to lurk off danger?
In cultures across the world, people bang drums, light firecrackers and chant prayers to ward off evil during the night. The firework display was invented in the 7th century A.D. in China for the very same purpose—to chase away evil spirits. From the beginning, the Chinese New Year was a reliable time to see the sparkling displays. Yet the tradition of setting off fireworks in the Western world seems to have evolved independently.
In the 21st century, new year fireworks have become a mainstream new year celebration. We are thankful to the Chinese tradition for introducing the spectacular boom to celebrate and welcome a new year. Moreover, the tradition of firework displays resulted in the introduction of the worldwide famous Ball Drop in New York City’s Times Square.
How did the Firework’s Display pave way for the popular Ball Drop event?
Even if we have not witnessed the iconic event live, we are absolutely familiar with the celebrated Ball Drop event that is hoisted every year during the new year’s eve in the Times Square. So, why exactly does New York drop a giant, lit-up ball on the New Year’s Eve anyway?
The new year festivities were originally held at Trinity Church in Manhattan where spectators were able to hear the chiming of the bells signalling midnight. During the fireworks show, the same set of spectators was unable to witness the display. This is because hot ashes fell down on the streets after the display, causing problems and leading the NYPD (New York Police Department) to ban the fireworks. In 1904, the festivities of New Year’s Eve moved to the New York Times building.
Once, a New York Times publisher named Adolph Ochs approaches the Times’ Chief Electrician, Walter Palmer, to create something different to draw the attention of the crowds and avoid the shower of hot ashes—which provoked Palmer. The maritime tradition of dropping a time ball by sailors to adjust their chronometers while at the sea further inspired him. He further devised the idea of dropping a lit-up ball on New Year’s Eve to help alert the crowd. Ever since 1907, the tradition of dropping the ball in Times Square has been a tradition. With each year, the ceremony has become more monumental. For New Year 2022, we anticipate a magnificent and more spectacular display of the fireworks!
Fast Forward to New Year 2022
We hope for a grand welcoming to the new year 2022. To date, the new year’s celebrations have only become grand and spectacular—with added customs and tradition. Today, people go partying with their friends, families and/or close ones to celebrate the onset of a fresh year. Several people also visit places like San Francisco and Sydney to witness the best of firework displays.
Speaking of 2021, the entire year has been a roller coaster ride. The ongoing pandemic added all the negative elements to the beginning and middle of the year. However, the year has come to an end. Ignoring the end of a year is usually bittersweet, but we hope that moving past 2021 will not be a difficult job. To conclude, we wish you a merry and prosperous New Year 2022 and hope that the new year brings you joy, safety and prosperity.
Also Read: New Year Wishes for Joyous 2022