Once a year, the entire world leaves the past behind and embraces the future. With united spirits, we rejoice and share a magical moment at midnight. America is a young member of this global celebration, and while we’ve borrowed many of our New Year’s Eve traditions, we have our own that revolves around the drop of a ball.
We sing a sweet Scottish song when the clock strikes midnight. The lovely strains of Auld Lang Syne reflect on times gone by, and we lift our glasses in a toast to fill that cup of kindness with fond remembrance.
We revel in the explosions of brilliant fireworks that set the New Year’s sky ablaze. Their legend belongs to a Chinese cook who spilled saltpeter into an open flame more than two thousand years ago.
We ring in the New Year by trading a kiss that began with European masked balls centuries ago. Hidden faces represented unhappy spirits from the past, and the shared kisses made them pure again for a new beginning.
The New Year’s Eve ball drop is an American tradition that has its roots in our desire to mark time. In the early 1800s, observatories built time ball stations and used these unique clocks to accurately establish the hour by the position of the sun and stars.
In 1907, our first ball-drop celebration centered on a 700-pound construction of wood and iron. That initial glow of 100 bulbs grew brighter with each New Year’s Eve, and today more than nine thousand points of light illuminate our Waterford crystal globe.
Millions of people around the world embrace our New Year ball drop. As the planet moves through the darkness towards that one special midnight, we all turn our faces to the promise and glow of a brand new year.