Wearing red or yellow underwear is a tradition in countries in South and Central America. Red is for luck and yellow is for money.
Have you ever wondered where the tradition of celebrating the new year came from? Or how it's celebrated in other places? Or maybe if there are weird traditions associated with it?
1 New Year's has not always been celebrated on January 1
In the ancient world, the new year began at different times, often coinciding with an agricultural or celestial event. In Egypt the year began with the annual flooding of the Nile. The Phoenicians and Persians began their year with the spring equinox, the Greeks with the winter equinox. The first day of the Chinese New Year occurred with the second new moon after the winter solstice. The Romans moved the calendar around quite a bit before finally settling on something similar to what we have today.
2 Food is an important part of tradition
Many cultures around the world include feasting or eating certain foods in the New Year's celebrations. Eating 12 pieces of fruit, typically grapes, is a tradition in Spain and the Philippines, while consuming a pie with a coin in it is a Greek tradition. Whoever gets the coin wins the luck for the new year. Wearing red or yellow underwear is a tradition in countries in South and Central America. Red is for luck and yellow is for money.
3 Hoping for good luck and warding off evil are traditions all over the world
For good luck, people in Romania toss coins in a river, while Bolivians and Greeks bake coins into food. A lot of cultures have traditions aimed at warding off evil such as dressing in costumes in Switzerland, ringing bells and beating drums in Puerto Rico, and throwing dishes against friends doors in Denmark. The Japanese hang straw ropes across their homes to ward away evil spirits.
4 The Brits and Americans celebrated New Years in March
Up until 1752, New Year's was observed on March 25, which was Easter according to the Council of Tours. In 1752 Pope Gregory XII's reform calendar of 1582 was adopted by the British and its colonies.
5 New Year's has been celebrated a very long time
The Chinese have been celebrating the new year since the Shang Dynasty, which dates back to between 1600 - 1046 BCE. The Egyptians celebrated it when the Nile river flooded, typically sometime in July. The ancient Babylonians celebrated it around 2000 BCE in March.
6 New Year's resolutions have also been around a long time
The ancient Babylonians are also the first ones to make New Year's resolutions. Before they became about losing weight or quitting smoking, like they are in today's world, they started out as promises to the gods and evolved through various religions. Christians looked back on their mistakes and resolved to do better in the coming year. Today, according to Forbes, 40 percent of people make resolutions, but only 8 percent reach their goals.
7 The ball has been dropping in New York since 1907
The Times Square Alliance says the celebration in Times Square has been happening since 1904, but the first ball dropped in 1907. It began as a ball made out of iron and wood featuring 100 lights that dropped from a flag pole at Times Square. Today's ball is a geodesic sphere that is 12 feet in diameter and weighs 11,875 pounds. Waterford crystals and LED modules complete the design.
8 Attempting to predict the future is a New Year's tradition
The French looked to the weather on New Year's Day to help predict the fruitfulness of crops in the coming year, while people in Finland cast molten tin into water and use the shapes to predict the future. The Irish check the direction of the wind to predict which way politics will blow and the Germans melt lead similar to the Fins for predicting the future.
9 Kissing at midnight is an ancient tradition
It started with Saturnalia in ancient Rome, at least some scholars believe this, because that festival was generally rowdy and kissing was a part of it. German and English folklore told believers that the first person you met in a new year could influence the rest of your year. It's believed that the kiss could have evolved from the German and English folklore belief as well.
10 The top New Year's resolutions might surprise you
Statistically speaking, the highest New Year's resolutions might offer some surprises for the average person, according to statistics from statisticbrain.com. The top resolution for 2017 was losing weight at 21 percent of people, but life and self improvements, at 12 percent, beat out better financial decisions, at 8.5 percent. Doing more exciting things and spending more time with family and friends at 6 percent beat out work out more often at 5 percent, which one might think is odd considering losing weight was the top ranked resolution. Finding love and finding a better job hit the bottom of the list at 4 percent.