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New Year's Day

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Happy New Year!  (Image licensed from the Microsoft Office Clip Art Gallery.)

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New Year's Day is the first day of the year, January 1st.

The celebration of this holiday begins the night before on New Year's Eve, when Americans gather to wish each other a happy and prosperous coming year. At the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, people cheer and sing "Auld Lang Syne." The song, which means "old long since" or roughly "the good old days," was written by Robert Burns in 1788.

Making New Year's resolutions – pledges to change for the better in the coming year – is a common activity associated with this holiday. It is traditional to make toasts on New Year's Eve as well. Typically, the old year is represented by "Father Time," an elderly man with a flowing gray beard, and the new year is represented by an infant.

One of the largest New Year's Eve celebrations in the world is at Times Square in New York City where the New Year's Eve Ball descends at the stroke of midnight. The "dropping of the ball" is a custom derived from harbor time signals, a common visual synchronization procedure once used primarily for navigation and astronomy. Times Square has been the center of worldwide attention since 1904 when the owners of One Times Square began conducting rooftop celebrations to usher in the new year.

New Year's Day is the oldest and most universal holiday. The Romans were the first to observe January 1 as New Year's Day in 153 B.C. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII instituted the Gregorian calendar still in use today, setting January 1 as New Year's Day. Prior to this, many countries celebrated the new year on April 1st in celebration with the new spring season. It was celebrated much the same way as it is today with parties and dancing into the late hours of the night. The origin of April Fools' Day can be traced to this change.



Auld Lang Syne

Performance by The U.S. Army Ceremonial Band

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And days of Auld Lang Syne?

For Auld Lang Syne, my dear,
For Auld Lang Syne;
We'll take a cup of kindness yet
For Auld Lang Syne

And here's a hand, my trusty friend,
And gives a hand o' thine;
We'll take a cup of kindness yet
For Auld Land Syne

For Auld Lang Syne, my dear,
For Auld Lang Syne;
We'll take a cup of kindness yet
For Auld Lang Syne







Times Square




Auld Lang Syne (The U.S. Army Ceremonial Band - 0:58/1.0MB)


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