Each year, we count down to the New Year on New Year's Eve, with a ball drop.  Why?  Have you ever wondered why we do this?

New Year's Eve ball during it's unveiling on December 27, 2013 in New York, United States. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

In 1907, New York City began its famous Times Square Ball Drop.  Here is a cute little video of the Times Square Ball drop history.

The Ball Drop tradition began with time, as it was used originally to tell time. Rewinding to a few years earlier than the early 1900's, 'Time Balls' were used by sailors who were at sea to tell time. In 1829, in Portsmouth, England, the first ball was dropped to signal time for the sailors.  In 1845, this tradition was cabbaged onto by the U.S.

After the first few celebrations in New York City, fireworks were added to lure more people to the festivities.   Obviously the fireworks stuck and what ensued was many, many years of growing New Years Eve celebrations all over the states.  Fireworks were banned by the New York City fire department along the way, so lights were incorporated, and it was made fancier and fancier as time passed.  Walter Palmer was the New York electrician who provided New York City with the idea to add this ball drop to the end of year festivities.  1904, is when it began.  Today, all over the world various rituals and traditions take place.   There are so many hundreds if not thousands of different things that people do.   Even in the U.S., people drop things other than a ball.   Candy, Shoes, Animals, Fruits, Fish, Tools, Possums, Sausage, Fleas,  you name it.   There are some weird items that get dropped for NYE.

This is really a goofy tradition for New Year's.   I don't know what they are saying, because I don't speak German, but, in Germany, ever since 1972, they watch this.  Over, and Over, and Over.  When the clock strikes midnight, the same script, the same story, the, 'Dinner For One'.

In Brazil, wearing brightly colored underwear seems to be something many do.  If they wear them past midnight, and into the coming year, it is said to bring them good fortune and to assist in attracting a mate. Red is for a flourishing love life and yellow is for wealth.  This is Rihanna, but well, she sports 'colorful' garments like this all the time.  I wonder if it means the same thing if worn more than just to bring in the new year?

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A small town called Talca, in Chile, spends their new year with the dead.  The cemetery gates are opened by the mayor at 11, and the people are welcomed in with music and blinking lights, so that they can party with their loved ones that have passed.


Ecuador makes scarecrows and then burns them.  Each family makes their own and it supposedly symbolizes destruction of all of the bad things that have happened over the past year.  The scarecrow scares away bad luck and fills their new year with luck and happiness.

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There is a festival for the Scottish, Hogmanay.   This involves fire, and is actually pretty dangerous, as you can see from the photos.

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People attend this event from all over the world, even from 60 different countries they venture to witness and be involved with the Hogmanay.   Locals say the balls of fire bring purification and sunshine.  The festivities date back to the days of the Vikings, and they do look like Vikings.

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In the Philippines, polka dots are the thing.   Polka dots represent wealth, as attributed by their round shape, such as that of coins.

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Mexicans believe strongly that they can communicate with their deceased loved ones.  New Year's Eve is considered the best time to speak with the dead, to ask for guidance, or convey a message.  A day called 'Day of the Dead' is celebrated in November also.

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The Danish have a rather odd tradition, they break plates.   The dishes are broken on the door of their neighbor. What is odd, the family with the largest pile of broken plates wins.   They are considered lucky, because they have lots of friends. ????

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While we may use Mistletoe a little differently than the Irish, this is a rather unique tradition. They place mistletoe under their pillow, and no, there is not a mistletoe fairy that comes and gives them money, however, it helps them rid themselves of bad luck and to catch their future husband.

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