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New Year’s Eve/Day By Emma Wang

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New Year’s Eve/Day

By: Emma Wang

On December 31st, 2017, millions of people around the world gathered to celebrate memories, family, and friends as yet another year draws to the end. For many, 2017 was a big year: women in Saudi Arabia were granted permission to drive, hurricanes Irma, Maria, and Harvey wreaked devastation across the Carribean and southeastern United States, the global economy grew by 3%, the highest recorded rate since 2003, a device was invented to help regrow skin for burn victims, a treatment for ALS was discovered, democracy continued to hold its ground in world culture… the list goes on and on.

Many take the opportunity to party and celebrate with friends, family, and strangers as 2017 ends. As one of the biggest celebrations of New Year’s in the US, an estimated one million people brave the frigid zero-degree temperatures to attend the New Year’s Eve celebration at Times Square. The coldest New Year’s since 1962, the crowd watches as the ball descends from the flagpole located on top of Times Square, a protected and upheld tradition since 1907.

Hopes run high as many define their new year’s resolutions, celebrating the old year and welcoming the new one. One student said that “the new year symbolizes new beginnings,” and that this year, they plan to work on time management. Another said they wanted to improve self-esteem. Whatever their goals might be, they begin the year with a positive mindset and a belief that they can achieve their goals and make dreams reality.

Today, there is no proper or right way to celebrate New Year’s. In some countries, people are not let out of work until late in the evening, but in others, New Year’s is celebrated as a government holiday. Traditions can be anything from singing fortune-bringing songs to eating 12 grapes before midnight. Interestingly, making resolutions is not a recent idea; instead, it’s a tradition that may date back to the Mesopotamians.

Ironically, the holiday that so many people place hope and faith into is celebrated differently and at different times based on where someone might live in the world. New Year’s celebrations began in 2000 B.C., but it wasn’t in January. Instead, the Roman calendar began the new year in March. Eventually, an astronomer named Sosigenes convinced Julius Caesar to celebrate it in January. He officially changed the practice and from 46 B.C. and onward, New Year’s was celebrated in January. This change was implemented to respect the god Janus, who had two faces, symbolizing the ability to celebrate the past and look into the future at the same time.

Like our ancestors, many today also look to the sky for knowledge. On January 1st, New Year’s Day, the first supermoon of the year will occur. The difference between a supermoon and a micro-moon is hard to discern, but the differences become clearer with a side-by-side comparison. Because of the Moon’s orbit around Earth, it may appear bigger or brighter at various points of the year. Supermoons are 14% bigger and 30% brighter than micro-moons. Making this event more special is the fact that this supermoon is the second of three consecutives ones: December 3rd, January 1st, and January 31st.

Less than a month into the New Year, the world continues on its journey to produce, become, inspire, and hope that at the end of 2018, it can look back on its year and celebrate with the same pride that overcame it at the end of 2017.

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New Year’s Eve/Day By Emma Wang