Did You Know?

By K.P. Sander

Did-You-KnowHappy New Year! Did you know that the very first time the New Year was celebrated on January 1st, was in Rome in 153 B.C. The month of January did not even exist until around 700 B.C., when the second king of Rome, Numa Pontilius, added the months of January and February to the annual calendar.

Around the world, different countries celebrate New Year’s Eve in their own particular manner, with social gatherings, eating, drinking alcoholic beverages, some sort of fireworks display…and the “countdown”. In some U.S. cities, you can still hear firecrackers popping and the banging of pots and pans – a celebration of the 50s and 60s – in nostalgic fashion.

Perhaps the most popular celebration comes from New York City; it is watched via television the world over. The very first New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square was in 1903. According to Wikipedia, Adolph Ochs, the owner of the New York Times, decided to celebrate the opening of his new headquarters, located at One Times Square, with a fireworks show displayed from the roof of the building.   Nearly 200,000 people attended the event.

Wanting to improve upon the spectacle each year, Ochs had one of his electricians design an electrically lit time ball to draw more attention. The ball was made of wood and iron and weighed 700 pounds. Approximately 5 feet in diameter, the ball was lit with one hundred incandescent bulbs and hoisted on the building’s flagpole by a team of six men. As the ball dropped, it completed an electrical circuit to a large sign indicating the New Year. That first “ball drop” occurred on Dec. 31, 1907 – welcoming in 1908 – and it has been a tradition ever since.

The New Year is a brand new beginning, a fresh start; a time for resolutions – often overstatements of intent – to change behaviors and start anew. What did you resolve to change on New Year’s Eve? Some say the very best resolution – and the one most frequently found successful – is the resolve to implement no more New Year’s Resolutions. Whatever your traditions, here’s hoping that your New Year is full of blessings and joy.