New Year’s Day Celebrates Renewed Opportunity

Observed on January 1 in the United States, New Year’s Day celebrations actually begin the night of December 31 with parties, concerts, fireworks and special events of all kinds.

The New Year itself is often symbolized by a baby wearing just a diaper, a festive hat and a sash imprinted with the year. In contrast, the concluding “old year” is depicted by illustrations of “Father Time,” an old, white-bearded man in a robe, carrying an hourglass and a scythe.

In the United States, the first of January remains a time to reflect on the year just completed. Newspapers and television shows review the main events of the previous year and memorialize famous people who died.

New York City famously counts down to the midnight hour in Times Square, where thousands gather to watch a faceted crystal ball drop at the appointed hour (pictured above). The tradition dates from 1907.

The Tournament of Roses Parade, staged annually on New Year’s Day since 1890 in Pasadena, California, features floats fabricated from millions of flowers. The Rose Bowl collegiate football game usually follows the parade. Watching the parade and game on television is a longstanding New Year pastime.

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