Probably the best example of the modern practices of New Year Day is the great ball of light that drops to signify the coming of the New Year. Of all the modern practices of New Year’s Day this one is the one that most people have seen in one form or another and it is probably the one most duplicated in locations all over the world. The first ball drop happened in Times Square in New York City on December 31, 1907. Since then it has grown into an international phenomenon with large cities, small cities, small towns, and every other gathering of people all over the world having their own glowing ball of technology dropping to signify the New Year. With this modern practice of New Year’s Day there is a two fold meaning with the falling of the dark ball signifying the last seconds of the previous year fading away and then the ball lighting at midnight to signify the glowing promise of a New Year. Of all of the modern practices of New Year Day none are more dead on in their symbolism, yet so simple in their design, as the great ball drop. From 1972 until as recently as 2007 it was Dick Clark who hosted the ball drop as almost 1 million people gathered in Times Square to be there for the event. As Dick Clark becomes more unable to host the event due to age and Ryan Seacrest steps in to take over the event has lost none of its luster. It has, however, gained more media exposure as now all the television stations in the United States, and around the world, broadcast the ball dropping in Times Square and the ABC Network no longer has a monopoly on it. Even though this is one of the modern practices of New Year Day that has been most duplicated all over the world there is still a feeling that you really haven’t been to a New Year’s ball drop until you have been to Times Square.
The notion of having New Year’s Day on January 1st could be considered one of the modern practices of New Year’s Day as it has only been that way since 1923 when Greece was the last country to finally accept the Gregorian calendar that the January 1st New Year’s Day is based on. Other cultures, like the United States, have been celebrating New Year’s Day on January 1st since the early 1700’s but this notion of January 1st as New Year’s Day is a modern practice of New Year Day. It makes so much sense to us now as we have all lived under the Gregorian calendar all of our lives and a January 1st to December 31st year seems so obvious but it took a long time for that calendar to be accepted. There are still some cultures, like China and the Jewish people, that have not totally accepted January 1st as New Year’s Day. In those cultures they use the Gregorian calendar for interacting with the rest of the world but their New Year’s Day are on different dates.
Probably one of the most forgotten, yet most annoying, modern practices of New Year’s Day is having to make sure your computer calendar clicked over to the New Year correctly. This should be the most automatic thing in the world but yet there we all are on the morning of January 1st making sure our computer has the right year on display. In some ways technology has done us absolutely no favors at all.