Saturday, December 31, 2016

“Seeing in the New Year” 1836

“Seeing in the New Year” from The book of Christmas illustrated by Robert Seymour 1836

In both the Gregorian calendar, currently used in the United States, & the Julian calendar, which was used until 1752 in the British colonies, the last day of the year is December 31. 

In Europe, the mid-winter period was traditionally associated with feasting & parties. New Year’s Eve festivities can be traced back to celebrations in Europe that date back before Christianity spread.  When many inhabitants in Europe were converted to Christianity, these festivals were merged with Christian beliefs & in time came to mark holidays such as the New Year’s Eve & New Year celebrations.

In the early years of the American colonies & within the new republic of the United States, this type of celebration was often frowned upon, particularly by religious communities. Around the start of the 1900s, New Year's Eve celebrations in America started to appear. The first Ball drop in Times Square was held in 1907. Around the same time, special events, such as fireworks, to welcome the New Year in the United States started to be organized for December 31st.