Some traditions are regional in origin, rooted in immigration patterns and ethnic enclaves in cities large and small, while other New Year customs - like the famous ball drop in Times Square of New York City - of maritime or other origin.

New Year ball drop

(The crytal ball  await the New Year's Eve 2024 Photo: AP ) 

The crystal-clad ball, based on a 19th-century maritime tradition, was once dropped down poles in ports at noon.

“Ships will use the balloons to adjust their clocks to local time,” says business news website Insider. The New Year's Eve ball drop in New York City began more than 100 years ago, in 1907.

(The spectacular crystal ball release officially welcomes New Year's Eve )
To prepare for 2024, an estimated 1 million people came to Times Square in New York City to watch the New Year's Eve ball drop and countdown the final seconds before the new year begins.

More than 1 billion people around the world watched to ring in the new year as the illuminated Waterford crystal ball was lowered onto the 21-metre-high column.

The ball weighs 5,400 kg and has a diameter of 3.7 meters.

(A drag queen sits in a giant red shoe surrounded by revelers )

More than just a crystal ball drop, a performer named Sushi sits in a large replica of a woman's high heel shoe during the Red Shoe Drop, which celebrates the new year on Duval Street in Key West, Florida , December 31, 2019

Auld Lang Syne

Roughly translated as “For the sake of old times,” Americans and many in the English-speaking world sing this old Scottish ballad close to midnight.

(People sing with their arms crossed and hands joined as a parting ritual at many ) 

 The song is about old friendships and acts of kindness over the years and is widely used to mark endings, farewells and new beginnings.

Midnight kiss

 (© Craig Walker/Denver Posted on Getty Images) 

This couple in Denver, Colorado, shared a New Year's Eve kiss.

The tradition of kissing the first person you see at midnight has its roots in German and English folklore.

Traditionally, the first favorable meeting sets the tone for the rest of the year.

(© Craig Ruttle/Photo AP) 

Irene Mayoral and Gerald Nuell, a newly engaged couple from Spain, share a kiss in Times Square on January 1, 2022, while confetti falls on revelers in the street.

Black-eyed peas

Americans in the Southern states believe that eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day will bring luck and wealth.


Many Southerners drop a coin into the bowl when preparing bean stew, and the person who receives the bean bowl containing the coin is considered the luckiest person that year.

Adding dollar bill-colored vegetables to black-eyed peas symbolizes a prosperous new year.


(Firework sighted from San Francisco Photo : AP ) 

Local fireworks displays, like the one in San Francisco above, are one of the most beloved New Year's Eve traditions.

(Fireworks display at Walt Disney World,

Other popular fireworks locations are in Dallas, Las Vegas and Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.


(Merry-goers in fancy dress participate in the annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia on January 2, 2022.) 

The Mummers Parade is a folk festival that has been held for over 120 years to mark the new year.

About 10,000 participants divided into themed groups marched through the streets of Philadelphia. “Mumming” is a form of humorous mime that came to Philadelphia via Swedish, German and English immigrants in the late 17th century.

The parade was first held in 1890 and was only interrupted by World War II in 1942, 1943 and 1945 and the 2021 COVID-19 pandemic.

(The annual Rose Parade, an iconic New Year's tradition, includes elaborate floral floats, marching bands and high-stepping equestrian units.) 


The parade takes place before the annual Rose Bowl college football game and is sometimes held on January 2 if New Year's Day falls on a Sunday.

The parade was first held in 1890 and was only interrupted by World War II in 1942, 1943 and 1945 and the 2021 COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2024 Rose Parade’s theme is “Celebrating a World of Music: The Universal Language,” in tribute to the sounds and rhythms that soothe, delight, move and unite people around the globe.

Mary Jane Maxwell