New Years by the Numbers

3 . . . 2. . . 1. . . Happy New Year! Time to wind down the bustling holiday season and get a fresh start.

4,000 years ago, the Babylonians started the tradition of celebrating the start of a new year with a festival – although their new year was on the first full moon following the spring equinox. The January 1st we know and celebrate as the start of the year today was a long time coming: it didn’t change until 46 BC, when Julius Caesar declared it so. England and the soon-to-be United States held out even longer though, not acknowledging the 1st officially until 1752.

45% of Americans make a New Year’s Resolution annually; the 5 most popular are to lose weight, get organized, spend less money and save more, stay fit and healthy, and quit smoking. We need to work on our resolve, though, because while 75% of people manage to keep it up for one week, only 64% of people keep their resolution for one month, and only 46% make it to the 6-month mark.

How do people ring in the New Year? 1 million of them head to New York’s Time Square to watch the famous ball drop atmidnight, while 1 billion more around the world tune in to watch over the TV. 44% of adults share a kiss with a loved one – or whoever is closest at hand – when the clock strikes 12. Another 61% of people take the opportunity to say a prayer for the coming year. In Spain, they quickly eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight for good luck. And 22% of adults will simply fall asleep before midnight.

The ball drop in Times Square is quite an affair. It’s been going on since 1907 became 1908 and has only grown in popularity since then. The ball measures 12 feet in diameter and weighs in at 11, 875 pounds, thanks in large part to the 2,688 crystals that cover it and the 32,000 LEDs that light it up. The watching crowd gets 2,000 pounds of confetti dumped on them when the ball drops.

Have a happy, healthy, pain-free New Year!


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