In a few hours, it's 2017! But before you head out to party, look back at all these fun facts on New Year's Eve beliefs and traditions you might encounter while ringing in 2017.
Champagne is a sign of wealth and abundance — and New Year's Eve celebrations are among the most lavish occasions throughout the year. The tradition of drinking sparkling wine on Dec. 31 started with the Christian practice of drinking wine during Eucharistic celebrations. As Europe turned increasingly secular, people started "blessing" or "christening" ships and celebrating non-religious occasions with champagne.
Popping open a bottle of bubbly became widespread with the emergence of the middle class in Europe; more and more people were able to afford what was once reserved only for the wealthy. Today we see crowds on the street shake up a bottle of champagne in a frenzy, to mark this spirited occasion.
'Auld Lang Syne' Is For 'Good Ol' Times'
As the universal hymn at every New Year's Eve party, "Auld Lang Syne" is a throwback to all the "good times" you had with "old acquaintances" — your friends, basically. The actual meaning of "Auld Lang Syne," according to LiveScience, is "once upon a time," which works, too. After all, we're ending another year with our friends and family and might be feeling a little nostalgic. You can, however, update your New Year's Eve playlist to slightly more modern tracks.
No Fireworks At Times Square? Drop The Ball Then!
In 1907, fireworks were banned by local authorities in New York because the ashes and debris from the pyrotechnics fell on the streets.
The famous Times Square Ball was created as the next best alternative to fireworks. But just how sparkly is the current ball? The people who built it say more than 30,000 LED lights and close to 3,000 Waterford crystal triangles adorn it, thus producing that glimmer as it drops.
Kissing At Midnight Brings Good Luck
Smooching isn't only done at the stroke of midnight as a sign of love, although it doesn't hurt to have someone special with you as you ring in the New Year. Old Germanic customs dating back to a pre-Christian period count kissing as a way to "bless" loved ones, protect them, and bring them good luck.
Also, because the New Year is celebrated during the winter, people tend to feel vulnerable, and kissing became a way to feel a sense of security with the person you love.
New Year's Resolutions: Finding Favor With The Gods
For the ancient people of Mesopotamia, declaring their resolutions wasn't just to inform others that they were on a personal mission, such as losing weight or learning a new language. Instead, New Year's "resolutions," presented during the 12-day festival of Akitu, were more similar to a pledge to the king. The people who take the oath must do so to maintain favor with the gods.
The next time you list down your New Year's resolutions, remember that you're lucky you don't have to answer to anybody but YOURSELF when you eat that second slice of chocolate cake in 2017!