(WLNS) – On New Year’s Eve every year, people join in on traditions that have been passed down for centuries, but where do they come from and why do we do them?
New Years celebrations started thousands of years ago in Babylonian times, but traditions have changed since then.
The tradition of drinking to bring in the New Year has roots in agriculture.
“A lot of the things that went in to making alcohol were from those crops,” President of the Historic Society of Greater Lansing Bill Castanier explained.
“People like to make noise,” Castanier added.
From horns, to fireworks, it seems that people have always liked to go out with a bang.
“They would shoot off canons, all the churches would ring their bells at midnight and all the factories would blow their factory whistle”.
But the New Year noises and keeping your neighbor up isn’t just for fun. Castanier says the sounds were also for protection.
“The noise was used to scare away spirits,” Castanier explained. “So you are trying to put them in the past and look to the future where good things can happen to you”.
Last is the traditional New Year’s kiss. But why was it so important for couples to lock lips at the stroke of midnight?
“If you kiss a girl on New Years Eve you would marry her”.
That is a myth that not many believe in today.
Castanier says celebrations were more formal in the past and the reason for recent relaxation has a lot to do with televised sports.
“Things became more finger food, more informal, they didn’t dress up as much,” Castier explained.
Despite different locations and backgrounds, the world will unite in the hope for a successful and happy New Year.