KSNF/KODE — For thousands of years, humans all over the world have honored the beginnings and endings of significant moments in time. From traditions rooted in rituals, superstitions, celebrations, and feasts, there’s never been a shortage of creativity in humanity’s ability to find a reason to party. The New Year holiday is no different. Cultures all over the world have rung in the New Year with their own special traditions and celebrations. Though not all New Year’s start on January 1st, there are many similarities expressed in the hope to ward off negativity and usher in good luck and prosperity for the next year.

Food and Fortune

A holiday calls for a celebration. Parties or gatherings are often had around New Year’s and typically include food. Probably the most traditional meal is black-eyed peas (though they aren’t really peas at all, they’re beans), collard or mustard greens, and cornbread. The black-eyed peas represent coins, the greens symbolize money, and the cornbread is gold. Eating this meal on the first day of the new year will ensure you have a financially prosperous year as the saying goes — “If you eat as a poor man on the first day of the year, you’ll eat as a rich man for the rest of the year.”

Another tradition is centered around grapes and originates from Spain. It’s called “las doce uvas de la suerte” or “the twelve grapes of luck” and has found its way to the western world as generations continue the tradition wherever they settle down. Participants eat one grape each time the clock bell strikes at midnight, and this ensures luck for the upcoming next twelve months.

Kisses and Kazoos

One New Year’s tradition goes without saying — when the clock strikes midnight you don’t want to be celebrating and cheering alone. Movies and TV shows have pushed the idea that a kiss at midnight is special, and comes from the idea that it will bring you luck in love for the next year—and ensure that you have 12 months more with the person you kissed.

In addition to smooches, a new year and fanfare go hand-in-hand. Whether it’s unloading a clip at midnight, setting off fireworks, blowing party horns, or cheering, a sound of celebration is customary to “ring in the new year” once the clock turns 12:00 a.m.

Times Square and Toasts

The New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in New York City’s Time Square is arguably the most iconic ritual to happen. According to TimesSquareNYC.org over 1-billion people tune in watch the time-ball drop.

The Waterford Crystal ball is 12-feet in diameter and weighs 11,875 pounds. The ball begins it’s descent at 11:59 p.m. and those gathered in Times Square unite to countdown the drop into the new year. It’s been a tradition since 1907. You can read more about the ball drop history and schedule of events for this year’s drop, HERE.

Another popular ritual on New Year’s Eve is a toast. The origins of toasting is debated, but overtime it has become a custom to raise a fizzy beverage (often champagne, wine, or sparkling juice), in honor or as an expression of goodwill towards someone or something. It is then followed by clinking glasses with those around you and finished with a sip of the beverage. A toast honors the past year, welcomes the beginning of a new one, and affirms the hope of good luck and health. Cheers!

It’s human nature to give importance and special attention to the new things in our lives. The start of a new year often invokes a hope that these traditions we practice and celebrate will set the tone for the next chapter before us.