New Year’s Eve is one of the world’s most celebrated holidays, whether you’re a kid excited to stay up all night or an adult just trying to make it to midnight after a long day of work. But how did the tradition of New Year’s Eve begin — and why do we celebrate it the way we do?
The earliest recorded New Year’s celebration is thought to be in Mesopotamia around 2000 B.C. While the celebrations actually occurred during the vernal equinox in mid-March — as this was considered the start of the new year by the calendar at the time.
Starting the new year in January was partially done to honor the god Janus, for whom the month was named. Since Janus had two faces, he was able to look back into the past and forward into the future simultaneously, making him a great spokesperson for the holiday we celebrate today.
New Year’s Eve is celebrated differently all around the world. Traditions range from eating 12 grapes at midnight, eating apples dipped in honey, or chowing down on a dish from the legume family such as beans or peas to bring good luck. Some cultures believe that eating any round shaped treat symbolizes ‘coming full circle’ and leads to good fortune.
Whatever your celebrations include, may you have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and a prosperous and joyful 2018.