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New Year's Celebrations All Over the World

Welcoming the new year is one of the oldest
and gayest customs celebrated the world over.
In many places people stay up late to watch
the old year out and the new year in.
Almost everywhere in the world church bells ring,
horns toot, whistles blow, sirens shriek.
London's Trafalgar Square
And New York City's Times Square
swarm with crowds of happy, noisy people.
The hullabaloo expresses people's high spirits at
holiday time. Many years ago, however,
the loud noises were meant to scare away evil spirits,
thus giving the new year a fresh start.

New Year's Day is a time for entertaining,
visiting, and in many places, gift-giving.
Schools, offices, and businesses are closed.
Churches hold services on New Year's Eve
and New Year's Day.
Since it marks the beginning of the year,
New Year's Day is thought of
as a good time to make New Year's resolutions -
the resolve to do better in the year just beginning
than you did in the year just ended.

"Auld Lang Syne" (The Good Old Days)
is a song traditionally sung at midnight
when horns are blown, confetti is thrown,
and a general party atmosphere is created
to ring in the New Year
with happiness. The outgoing year is often
represented by an elderly man known as Father Time
and the new year is represented by a baby
known as Baby New Year.

Traditional New Year's Toast
Here's to the bright New Year
And a fond farewell to the old;
Here's to the things that are yet to come
And to the memories that we hold.


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Updated: September 16, 2003