The Backstories on Your Favorite New Year's Traditions
It’s New Year’s Eve – you’re watching Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve and waiting for the Times Square Ball drop. At the stroke of midnight, you sing Auld Lang Syne and make a toast to bid farewell to the previous year.
Ever stopped to wonder what you’re actually saying when you sing Auld Lang Syne? Or where it came from, and why you sing it?
Or how about why you eat black-eyed peas and collard greens? Or even set off fireworks?
Here are three New Year’s traditions and the reasons why they’re celebrated today.
Auld Lang Syne
This is a Scottish folk song, and the phrase translates to “times gone by.” The lyrics encompass the idea that the past should be remembered.
Fun fact! Auld Lang Syne isn’t used only in the U.S. on New Year’s. The song was also used by the Maldives and Korea for their national anthems, and stores in Japan play it as a reminder for customers to leave at closing time.
Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens
This meal is popularly eaten on New Year’s in the South. It’s thought that this tradition was brought here by Sephardic Jewish immigrants in the early 1700s.
“My mom cooks black-eyed peas and collard greens because one symbolizes luck, and the other symbolizes wealth for the upcoming year,” Auburn junior Jayla Coleman said.
It is believed that the noise scares off evil spirits and misfortune.
“The United Arab Emirates is famous for having the biggest fireworks show during the countdown to the new year, and everyone goes to watch them,” freshman student, Abdalla Faisal Al-Ali, said about his experiences with New Year’s traditions in the UAE. “They’re set off from the Burj Khalifa, and the best part is that the fireworks are visible everywhere in Dubai.”
What New Year’s traditions do you observe? Tell us in the comments below or on social media @AuburnCampusRec.
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Julia B.