OOTJ wishes all our friends, families and occasional readers a very happy New Year! Here is a link to an entertaining site that lists some history and traditions of New Years celebrations in the western world. Wilstar (the site) notes that winter-time, January 1 is a pretty arbitrary date on which to celebrate a new year starting. Why not mark it in the spring, when the natural world begins to spring back to life? Or perhaps right on the solstice? According to the linked website, the January 1 date was arbitrarily fixed by the Roman Senate in 153 BC to try to repair the shifts their calendar endured under various emperors' decrees, setting it back in sync with the sun. That seems like a pretty poor choice, unless the solstice occurred at a different date back then.
Those wanting the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne, and more info on New Years' traditions around the world, can visit Infoplease.
Whether you eat black-eyed peas for luck, bang pans and firecrackers to scare off evil spirits, party hearty or hit the hay early, have a happy and safe New Years Eve!