Maybe I should have named my blog Potpourri or Pastiche or simply a Savory Stew because I aim to throw a lot of different things into the pot, mostly about reading, writing and art, but many other things, too, because I’ve lived a long time and have a lot of interests. I also will include here thoughts of others I come upon who share my loves. Including those of you who care to share your thoughts and impressions.

Archive - January, 2016

New Year's Eve Trivia
posted by Ed Farber on January 1, 2016

Here are some fun facts and trivia associated with the celebration of New Year's Eve.

1) The first recorded New Year was celebrated 4,000 years ago by the ancient Babylonians, although many ancient societies had such celebrations. They were not celebrated on December 31, however, since the calendar we use now is much more recent. The Chinese have their own New Year, and the Jewish New Year has been celebrated as a religious holiday for centuries.

2) It’s tradition to ring in the New Year with family and friends because the first people you see will either give you good luck or bad luck. So make sure to keep friends close and foes very far away.

3) More vehicles are stolen on New Year’s Day than any other holiday, statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau revealed.

4) The top three places to celebrate New Year’s Eve are Las Vegas, Disney World and of course, New York City.  Internationally, one of the biggest celebrations is in Sydney, Australia. More than 80,000 fireworks are set off from Sydney Harbour Bridge.

5) Times Square New Year's Eve Ball was first dropped in 1907 after there was a fireworks ban. Back then, a 700-pound ball embellished with 25-watt bulbs made of iron and wood was dropped. Now, however, it weighs 11,875 pounds, is 12 feet in diameter and is adorned with 2,668 Waterford crystals. The tradition has continued in Times Square, except for in 1942 and 1943. The ball was not lowered because of wartime restrictions.

6) In Italy, people wear red underwear on New Year’s Day to bring good luck all year long. In Colombia, Cuba and Puerto Rico, some families stuff a large doll, which is called Mr. Old Year, with memories from the past year. They also dress him in clothes from the outgoing year. At midnight, he is set ablaze, thus burning away the bad memories. The Japanese host bōnenkai, or parties where they forget the year, in December. In Lebanon, Pennsylvania, residents drop bologna at midnight. In Mount Olive, North Carolina, they drop a pickle. In Folly Beach, South Carolina, they drop a pair of flip flops. In Spain, locals eat 12 grapes in the 12 seconds right before midnight for good luck. In Chile, they eat lentils. On New Year's Day in Ireland, residents hit loaves of bread against the walls of their homes in order to scare away any bad spirits. In Germany, revelers pour hot metal into bowls of cold water. The shape it forms dictates the kind of year they're going to have.

7) It’s good luck to eat foods like black eyed peas, ham and cabbage because it is thought they bring prosperity. But if you want to have a happy new year, don’t eat lobster or chicken. Lobsters can move backward and chickens can scratch in reverse, so it is thought these foods could bring a reversal of fortune.

8) The traditional New Year’s song, “Auld Lang Syne,” means, “times gone by.”

9) The top 10 resolutions are usually to lose weight, eat more healthily, exercise more, stop smoking, stick to a budget, save money, get more organized, be more patient, find a better job and to just be a better person over all. About 75 percent of people keep their resolutions through the first week of the year, but only 46 percent keep it up for six months. Only about 8 percent of people keep their resolutions all year long. More people in their 20s keep their resolutions than people older than 50.