According to the Gregorian Calendar, the solar year ends on December 31. People celebrate it in different ways. For most English speakers, the first thing to do once the clock has struck 12 is to sing “Auld Lang Syne”. This is a song written by Robert Burns and published in 1796.
In Scotland, one goes First-Footing as soon as midnight strikes announcing the new year. The tradition involves going from one neighbour to another to wish them a happy new year. In the United States of America, the most well-known event is held in Times Square, New York. Thousands join to watch the dropping of the new year’s bell. It drops slowly over one minute landing at exactly midnight. This tradition started in 1907.
Most English speakers also make New Year’s resolutions; promises to oneself about changes for the future such as to give up smoking or to spend more time studying. This tradition dates back to early Christians who saw the end of a year as a time for reflection so as to improve in the new year.
Ask your own students to come up with New Year’s Resolutions for themselves.
In Spain one eats 12 grapes to symbolise 12 lucky months to come. Many countries set off fireworks representing the burning or purging of old to make room for the new. What traditions exist in Italy or more specifically in your area or town and why do they exist?
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