The history of New Year’s celebration

A firework display is set off from One Times Square after the start of the New Year during 2018 New Year's Celebration in Times Square in New York, NY, on January 1, 2018. (Photo by Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

New Year’s Eve is one of the world’s most celebrated holidays nowadays. No matter which calendar is adopted, there are a lot of New Year’s events all around the world. But have you ever wondered how the tradition of New Year’s began at first, and why we celebrated it the way we do now?

According to Earth Sky, the earliest record of New Year’s celebration could be traced back in Mesopotamia around 2000 B.C. However, the New Year’s celebration occurred in the mid-March, during the vernal equinox, which was considered as the beginning of a year that time. The Ancient Mesopotamian people held rituals on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the religious victory of the sky God Marduk over the sea goddess Tiamat, which made her either crown a new king or allow their old king to continue his reign.

At the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago, depicts ancient courtiers and foreign tribute-bearers. The reliefs were part of the throne room facade at a royal palace in ancient Dur-Sharrukin founded by the king Sargon II soon after he came to the throne in 712 B.C. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Then when did “New Year” begin in January? According to, the Ancient Roman calendar used to follow the lunar cycle, of which the New Year began in March. Nonetheless, an astronomer Sosigenes convinced King Caesar to change to follow the solar year; therefore, from 46 B.C. on, New Year officially began in January.

Legend has that first New Year’s celebration in January is rooted in 1904, in which the New York Time moved to their new building on Dec. 31st, and put fireworks at 0 o’clock in Times Square. Since then, there would be a 200-pound colored ball hung on the top floor of Times Square every December 31st, and the colored ball would open and spurt countless ribbons with stunning fireworks to celebrate at the moment of the New Year.

Confetti drops over the crowd as the clock strikes midnight during the New Year’s celebration in Times Square as seen from the Marriott Marquis in New York, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

However, it is not the main reason causing the New Year’s celebration to become a pop culture. The New Year’s celebration fad actually begins with a bug “Y2K” in 1999 to 2000. The computer had recorded the date by binary for the lack of memory at the time that it was invented before 2000. For example, the computer recorded the date December 31st, 1999 as December 31, 99, but when it was going to 2000, the date would be recorded as January 1, 00, which the computer would be confused about the”00”. The computer didn’t understand the 00 represented 100, 200, 300 or 1000, 2000, 3000. By prediction, the computer would make the erroneous judgment which caused each person’s bank deposit to zero, the big crash of computers all around the world, destruction of personal identification, and huge chaos of transportations like doomsday. Therefore in the last 1999, it was called “Millennium Bug”, and a program “Y2K” to solve this big problem and prevent from the troubles.

Hewlett Packard Company employees are shown working in a basement Y2K Command Center Friday, Dec. 31, 1999, at HP headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif. HP said on Monday that they have scaled back the Command Center after there were no problems reported at HP offices around the world. In background is a map showing HP offices in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. (AP Photo)

Out of fear of this “bug”, the government of each country appealed all related organizations to brace, asking the public to withdraw all bank deposit and to avoid the subway and airplane. While starting the countdown near 0 o’clock on December 31 in 1999, everybody held the breath and followed the countdown: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Finding out that all the data was safe, and the world didn’t fall into chaos, everybody cheered and hugged each other to celebrate the New Year’s coming at that moment.

Since 2000, the New Year’s celebrations have emerged all around the world. At the end of a year, there will be all kinds of New Year celebrations which let us get together with family and friends.

People celebrate New Year as confetti fall down after the countdown to midnight in Times Square during New Year’s celebrations, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Go Nakamura)