Ring in 2019 With These NYE Traditions 373

The evening’s script is pretty much the same wherever you’re celebrating New Year’s in America.  People dressing up in their best clothes, popping bottles of champagne, singing “Auld Lang Syne”,  kissing a loved one and fireworks at the stroke of midnight.  But how exactly did these traditions begin?

New Year’s was first celebrated 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylon. Although the Babylonians did not have a written calendar, historians determined that they observed the start of the new year during the vernal equinox in mid-March and history states that they celebrated with an eleven-day festival named Akitu was held that would probably put our current parties to shame. The Roman calendar went through a number of changes as different emperors came to power. It wasn’t until Julius Caesar took the throne in 49 B.C. that the calendar was adjusted so that January falls where it does today.

From popping open a bottle of champagne to watching the ball drop in Times Square, here are the roots of a few most popular New Year’s Eve traditions.

Making a resolution

Making New Year’s resolutions dates back at least to the time of Ancient Babylonia where people made public spoken resolutions. The resolutions were required as a way pf making an oath to the king, and were considered essential to keep the kingdom in the gods’ favor.  For centuries, the act of making resolutions in many cultures has represented a purifying ritual that allows one to repent for their overindulgence.  everybody is going to eat and drink to excess, “and then the next day you’ll wake up and hopefully you’ll have your resolutions to do the next year better.” In present day making a resolution is a tradition where someone makes a resolution change an undesired trait or bad behavior, sets out to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise make improvements to their life.


Kissing a loved one

Puckering up at the stroke of midnight is a tradition with ancient roots. Many cultures considered the transition from the warm to the cold seasons to be an intensely vulnerable time, when evil spirits could run amok. According to English and German folklore, the first person you encounter in a new year sets the tone for the rest of the year. A kiss is about strengthening ties you wish to maintain in the future. Kissing the person you love shores up that relationship in the year to come.  If a couple celebrating together doesn’t take the time to lock lips, the relationship could be doomed.


Champagne toasts

Champagne has a lavish history dating back to the 16th century. Long before we started drinking bubbly to ring in the new year, European aristocrats were popping bottles at their royal parties.
Only the rich and elite drank champagne at the time because it was so expensive.  Eventually, winemakers started developing the technology to bottle carbonated wine.
The price of champagne declined and producers started marketing it to common folk in the 1800s. Champagne quickly became the ultimate New Year’s celebration beverage when the producers of Champagne started to link the bubbly to festive occasions in popular advertising campaigns. Since the wine was long associated with nobility, ads sold it to new customers as an aspiration to drink on special occasions. Champagne is now synonymous with marking any big moments in life.


“Auld lang syne”

“Auld Lang Syne,” is a poem that was written and combined with a traditional folk song by Robert Burns in 1788.  In English, the literal translation of Auld Lang Syne is “old long times,” but it means something more along the lines of “once upon a time.” The nostalgic tune soon became a mainstay at British and Scottish funerals, farewells and group celebrations. It didn’t make it across the pond as a New Year’s tradition until 1929. It is said that in 1929, Lombordo and his band were playing for a New Year’s Eve party in New York City, and at the stroke of midnight they played Auld Lang Syne. The band’s dispersal of the song soon spread to the radio and TV as their New Year’s Eve piece and this was the start of a new worldwide New Year tradition.


Ball drop





In the United States, the most iconic New Year’s tradition is the dropping of a giant ball in Times Square at the stroke of midnight. Millions of people around the world watch the event, which has taken place almost every year since 1907. Since the first ball drop, there have been seven balls, according to the Times Square Alliance. Over time, the ball has grown from a 700-pound iron-and-wood ball to a brightly patterned orb approximately 12 feet in diameter, weighing about 12,000 pounds and adorned with thousands of crystals and lights.



Most people love a good firework display and others never need an excuse to make something explode
People around the world ring in the new year with noisemakers, sparklers and fireworks. In some cultures people bang drums and run wildly into the corners of their room to spook the spooky creatures lurking in the night. “Noisemaking” and fireworks on New Year’s eve is believed to have originated in ancient times, when noise and fire were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck. The Chinese are credited with inventing fireworks and use them in every New Year’s celebrations.


Other Traditions found around the world
While there are some commonalities across the world, almost every culture has its unique take on the new year. Here are a few interesting traditions:

In Mexico, many people may eat one grape for every chime of the church bells at midnight.
Aztecs used to burn all of their mats during the new year, as fire was considered cleansing.
The English have a tradition of leaving money out on their porch to be purified.
The Swiss will drop rich dollops of whipped cream to the floor and leave them there to usher in riches.
The Turks wear red underwear, run the faucet and sprinkle salt on their doorsteps to ensure prosperity.

Previous ArticleNext Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Local Groundhogs Predict Early Spring 2019! 48

Happy Groundhog Day!  Rather than our traditional weathermen, today we turn the forecasting over to two resident Long Island Groundhogs – Malverne Mel, and Holtsville Hal for their Winter 2019 predictions.  We are happy to report that for the first time since 2016, both Holtsville Hal and Malverne Mel did not see their shadows this morning!  According to groundhog lore, that should mean we will be having an early spring this year.

It seems to be a unanimous decision this year, as America’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, as well as several other local groundhogs all predicted an early end to the polar vortex temperatures.  I addition to Mel, Hal, and Phil, Staten Island Chuck, upstate New York’s Dunkirk Dave, and Connecticut’s Chuckles all did not see their shadow early this morning.

The only dissenting groundhog this year seems to be Milltown Mel out of New Jersey, who DID see his shadow, and is predicting six-more weeks of Winter.  We will try to reach out for further comment.  However it is worth noting that human meteorologist, News 12’s Bruce Avery, agrees with Mel, saying he expects at least six more weeks of winter.

Whoever’s predictions you decide to believe, the Spring equinox is six weeks away on March 20th.

Brookhaven Town, Patchogue Village Form Joint Partnership in Seeking Additional Sewer Funds 56

Mastic Patchogue Sewers

Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine and Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri today
were joined by county, town and village officials to lobby for $26.4 million in available funds to extend sewer
projects in Patchogue and in Mastic near the Forge River.

Romaine and Pontieri issued a joint letter to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, thanking the Governor for his
leadership in providing funding for sewers to protect Long island’s groundwater and waterways and provide an
incentive for economic development. The two officials pointed out that while residents in Mastic and Babylon
approved a recent referendum for sewer projects in their communities, residents in Great River rejected a
similar plan for their area. Romaine and Pontieri wrote in their letter that the $26.4 million earmarked for Great
River could be reallocated to Patchogue and the Mastic project, expanding the environmental and economic
benefit for those areas. Pictured left to right are Patchogue Village Superintendent of Public Works Joe Dean;
Trustees Thomas Ferb and Joseph Keyes; Deputy Mayor Jack Krieger; Mayor Pontieri; Supervisor Romaine;
Deputy Supervisor, Councilmen Dan Panico and Councilman Neil Foley.

“An effective use of the $26.4 million in funds that were rejected by Great River voters would be to partially
fund Phase 3 of the Mastic/Forge River sewer project and to expand sewers in the Village of Patchogue. These
projects are already engineered. A site for a sewage treatment plant on Town of Brookhaven land is available
for the Forge River project. Patchogue has long had its own sewage treatment plant, and both the Mastic and
Patchogue communities (Mastic in a vote just this week), have shown their support for sewers,” they wrote in
the letter.

Supervisor Romaine said, “I commend the residents who voted overwhelmingly to fund Phase 1 and 2 of the
plan to sewer the Mastic Peninsula. But, we must look at the bigger picture to secure the money available that
will allow us to complete Phases 3 and 4 without over-burdening to the local taxpayers. I am confident that the
Governor, Mayor Pontieri and I share the same concerns about water quality and we all recognize Patchogue
Village as a model of how economic growth and protecting the environment can go hand-in-hand. This is a
game changer for the future of Mastic and the Forge river.”

Mayor Pontieri said, “Supervisor Romaine and I stand together in support of the reallocation of the sewer
funding. In the Village of Patchogue, we are currently in the planning stages to sewer over 500 homes located in
environmentally sensitive areas along the Patchogue River and Great South Bay. This will give us the
opportunity to sewer additional homes as well as move ahead with upgrades and future expansion of our sewer
plant. Local economic growth is tied directly into our sewer infrastructure and it is imperative that we continue
to make improvements to our system. I ask the Governor to consider our request, so we can move ahead with
these projects.”

Councilman Panico said, “Brookhaven and Patchogue have always shared a common vision for a cleaner
environment and vibrant economy. We are partners in this effort and value our strong relationship.”
Councilman Neil Foley said, “The Supervisor and Mayor have a history of cooperation to help make the Town
and Village better places to live. I am in full support of their request to the Governor and I expect that he will
give it serious consideration.”

County Legislator Sunderman said, “We are so happy the sewer referendum was successful. This will allow for
economic development in our area as well improve our environment. This was a once in a life time opportunity
and I am very excited to be part of this accomplishment. I’ve already requested to explore the connection of the
Mastic Beach Business District into phases 1 and 2 and have already requested grant funding for phases 3 and 4.
We are looking forward to the start of this project in 2020 and more to come in the future. It would be a great
opportunity to receive additional funding for our already designed project which was earmarked for use in
Suffolk County.

Most Popular Topics

Editor Picks