New Year’s Eve: History, Meaning, Dinner & Activities

July 11, 2022 6 min read

New year is the glittering light to brighten the dream-lined pathway of the future - From Munia Khan. For many people in the United States, New Year's Eve is a major social holiday. Many people host New Year's Eve parties at their homes or attend special celebrations. Large-scale public events are held in many cities. These events frequently draw tens of thousands of people. Hence, if you love to know more about it and are well-prepared for this holiday, do not miss out on this blog.

1. What is New Year’s Eve? 

The evening or the full last day of the year, or New Year's Eve in the Gregorian calendar, falls on December 31. In many countries, it is also known as Old Year's Day or Saint Sylvester's Day. The term "New Year's Eve" is frequently used to describe the final day of the year. West-style celebrations of New Year's Eve typically include dancing, eating, drinking, and occasionally watching or lighting fireworks. A watch-night service is attended by certain Christians. Typically, the festivities last far beyond midnight and into January 1st, New Year's Day.

2. Meaning of New Year’s Eve 

With its focus on romance and pleasure, New Year's Eve may appear to be a wholly secular holiday. But beneath all that glitter and sparkle comes a long-established celebration with profoundly religious origins. People have been celebrating the end of one year and the start of another for ages in similar ways.

3. New Year’s Eve Activities

3.1.Watching the “Ball Drop” in Times Square

Every year, approximately two million people gather in Times Square in New York City to witness the famous "ball drop." This tradition began in 1907 with the lowering of a 700-pound ball down a pole until it reached the ground at midnight. Today, the ball weighs 11,875 pounds and is encrusted with sparkling Waterford crystals. For those who cannot attend this annual tradition in person, the ball drop is broadcast both nationally and internationally, with approximately one billion people worldwide crowding around their television screens to count down the seconds until the ball reaches the ground in time to usher in the new year!

3.2. The New Year’s Kiss

After counting down the seconds to midnight, many share a special New Year’s Eve kiss! The tradition stems from the belief that kissing someone at midnight will prevent loneliness during the coming year and ward off evil spirits!

3.3. New Year’s Resolutions

For many participants, this popular tradition is notoriously short-lived! That is not to say that we should not all strive to achieve a goal or change our habits in the coming year. Many people decide to set personal goals, such as staying fit and healthy or spending more time with family and friends. Whatever happens, it's always interesting to see how long you can keep your resolutions!

3.4.Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John is a popular Southern dish of black-eyed peas, pork, and rice, eaten on New Year’s Day to bring good luck. The black-eyed peas are thought to symbolize coins. As a result, legend has it that eating this dish will bring prosperity and a year of good luck. The source of this dish can be traced back to slavery and the slave trade and may stem from West African dishes.

3.5.“Auld Lang Syne”

This Scottish ballad penned by poet Robert Burns is a popular tune for Americans on New Year’s Eve. Despite being written over two hundred years ago, it quickly became associated with New Year’s Eve in the United States when the performance by singer Guy Lombardo and his band was broadcasted nationally in 1929. Hollywood ran away with it, and the song soon became synonymous with the holiday!

4. New Year’s Eve Dinner

4.1.New York Strip Steak

When served with garlicky spinach and hasselback potatoes, this perfectly cooked steak is the ultimate New Year’s dinner.

4.2. Beet Fettuccine with Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese

You've got time on NYE (you are staying up 'til midnight, after all), turn dinner into activity by making your pasta. It's easy with a pasta machine!

4.3. Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta

These tender braised Instant Pot short ribs are the newest star of New Year's Eve dinner, with no effort required.

4.4. Roast Lamb

It's just as easy as roasting a chicken, but with a robust flavor and tender, juicy texture that just can’t be beaten.

4.5. Tomato Tagliatelle with Chorizo and Olives

Spicy chorizo and salty olives offer bold flavor in no time at all.

4.6. Coq au Vin Rosé

A twist on classic coq au vin (which uses red wine instead of rosé), this crowd-pleaser gets its flavor from mushrooms and bacon too.

4.7. Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Almond-Thyme Gremolata

Serve this delicious soup as a precursor to the main meal, or pair it with a protein to put it front and center.

4.8. Chicken, Sausage, and White Bean Stew

This protein-packed stew, loaded with slow-cooked chicken and beans, will keep you full 'till midnight.

4.9. Beef Wellington

Go for an elegant feast on the last night of the year.

4.10. French Onion Soup

Onions, slowly cooked until deep brown and caramelized, give this classic soup its distinctive flavor. Don't skip the topping: Cheesy broiled toasts.

4.11. Gluten-Free Spaghetti with Clams and Bacon Crumbs

Whip something up your gluten-free guests can enjoy.

4.12. Skillet-Roasted Chicken

There's nothing like a roast chicken for a celebratory occasion —this one cooks veggies and protein at the same time.

4.13. Grilled Vegetable Lasagna with Ricotta-Tomato Sauce

This cheesy number is perfect for vegetarians, or for anyone looking to eat less meat in the new year.

4.14. Roasted Pork Chops and Pears

This sweet-savory combo is sure to be a hit among your friends.

4.15. Crispy Pork Noodles

Add some spice to your celebration with the tongue-tingling Szechuan peppercorn in this dish.

4.16. Sweet Pea Risotto

Full of bright, sweet peas (you can buy frozen!). This creamy dish will please vegetarians and carnivores alike.

5. New Year’s Eve Activities for Kid and Adults

5.1. Predicting the Resolutions

Make each of your guests write down their resolutions on a separate slip of paper. Pull one slip of paper at a time from a basket and read it aloud. Everyone is required to write down who they believe made each resolution. The person who guessed the most correctly at the end of the readings wins a prize. For fun, read some of the incorrect guesses aloud!

5.2. Two Resolutions and a Lie

Tell the group two of their true resolutions and one of their false resolutions. Everyone must guess which resolution is a forgery.

5.3. New Year's Eve Scramble

Write a bunch of different New Year's Eve-related words on a piece of paper and scramble the letters. The person who correctly guesses the most words wins a prize.

5.4. Guessing Words

On index cards, write down 100 words such as stare, grin, blink, giggle, laugh, plate, shoelace, thread, or any other word that comes to mind. Place the cards in the center of the room, stacked. Divide the players into two teams and place them across from each other. Set a one-minute timer or stopwatch. Before the timer expires, have the first player from Team One draw a card from the pile and give clues to the word to his/her teammates.

5.5. Images of Joy

With the digital camera, photograph each of your guests. Make a funny face with them and tell them there will be a prize for the best face. After you've taken all of the photos, save them to your computer or laptop and have everyone gather around the monitor. The winner will be determined by who has the most laughs.

5.6. Celebrity Search

Everyone writes the name of a celebrity, famous person, or character on a piece of paper and sticks it to the left player's forehead (use tape or office Post-It notes). Make certain that they do not see the name. The game has begun. Your brow is visible to everyone else. 

5.7.Hold A Large Indoor Treasure Hunt Complete With Clues

The children will have a great time following the clues to find their treasure. Send them outside for parts of it if it's warm where you live.

5.8.Make Your Time Capsule

Put anything you want to remember, including your resolutions, in a container and store it until next year.

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