Have you ever wondered how it became popular to kiss at midnight on New Year’s? Or why eating black-eyed peas is a tradition? Here are a few New Year’s rituals explained:
The midnight kiss: according to folklore, your first encounter with another person in the New Year will set the tone for the rest of your year. Having that encounter be a kiss symbolizes strengthening the relationships you wish to continue in the future. This tradition dates back to ancient European times and a slightly different version says that the New Year’s Eve kiss can drive evil spirits away during the New Year.
The ball drop: the ball drop in Times Square has been happening since 1907 and was inspired by time balls (old time signaling devices that were used to ensure that marine timepieces were keeping accurate time). In the years prior to 1907, fireworks would be held in Times Square to mark the beginning of the year but those were banned in 1906 because hot ash raining down on the streets didn’t seem like a good idea. The New York Times’ chief electrician sought to create a new display to wow the crowds and combined the time ball drop with electricity. He covered a 700 pound ball of iron and wood with 100 light bulbs and used a system of pulleys to lower it at 11:59 pm. Today, millions of people tune in to watch the ball drop in Times Square to count down the final seconds of the year.
Eating black-eyed peas: this tradition goes back 1,500 years and is first linked with the Jewish custom to eat black-eyed peas to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. There are a number of theories that attempt to explain this ritual to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day and they all tie back to this as a way to experience economic prosperity in the coming year. One is linked to the expression “eat poor on New Year’s, and eat fat the rest of the year,” meaning that starting the year off with this humble legume means your luck will increase during the year. Another theory says that since black-eyed peas resemble coins, eating them will bring an abundance of wealth over the next year.
Singing Auld Lang Syne: this song title translates to “times gone by” and the message of it is about not letting the past be forgotten by taking the time to remember old friends. Robert Burns wrote this song in the 1700s and it was not written to be a New Year’s Eve song. In 1929, a band playing at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York on New Year’s Eve happened to play this song just after midnight. It was well received and with that, a tradition was born.
Regardless of whatever traditions you choose to honor this New Year’s, all of us at Garden Supply are wishing you a safe and joyful time!