American Traditions: New Year’s Eve ‘As Seen on TV’

In the United States, New Year’s Eve is celebrated much like it is in the United Kingdom, a night of revelry culminating with kisses and a toast to ring in the New Year.  The most popular New Year’s Eve celebration in America is held in Times Square in New York City.  A huge lighted ball is suspended high above One Times Square weighing 5,000 kg, and measuring 3.7-m, and beginning at 23:59 the New Year is counted down as the ball is lowered until at 24:00, it reaches its ultimate location at the bottom of its tower.

Historically, the most famous New Year’s Eve program was the annual “Big Band Remote” hosted by bandleader Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians inside the legendary Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.  Beginning in 1928 as a radio programme, and then televised on the CBS network in 1956, the event ran for 48 years until the bandleader’s death in 1977.  Lombardo was also well known for his band’s performance of the song “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight, which helped make the song synonymous with the New Year’s holiday in North America.

A second event designed to ring in the New Year in America was entitled New Year’s Rockin’ Eve created by entertainer Dick Clark, of American Bandstand fame which was conceived to appeal to the ‘younger generation’.  This programme aired annually on the U.S. television network ABC beginning in 1973, and prior to the countdown, famous, popular musicians would perform their top forty hits.  After suffering a stroke Clark handed the reigns to Ryan Seacrest, of American Idol, who took over the job of host with Clark making appearances until the time of his death in 2012.

Another popular custom that is shared between the USA and the UK is the making of New Year’s Resolutions.  Here are ours at the Second Air Division Memorial Library:

Libby:  To find a dance class, and swim twice a week

Julie:  To meditate more

Tom: To take a course in archery

Jenny: To become as fit as she can for her son’s wedding this August

Linda:  To complete her PhD Thesis on time, submitting by September of this year!

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