December 31 / January 1
New Year's is one of mankind's oldest holidays. It has been celebrated different ways by different religions and nationalities. It has also been celebrated all different times of the year, but in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII officially proclaimed that New Year's would be celebrated on January 1st every year. The purpose of the holiday has always been to say farewell to the old year, which was filled with sins and sorrow, and to say hello to the new year, which will be filled with joy and opportunities. Now in order to say goodbye to the old year, most Americans stay awake until midnight on New Year's Eve. Many people attend parties to celebrate with friends. Often people count down the ten seconds before midnight to be certain everyone sees the exact moment. Then at exactly midnight, everyone yells, screams, blows horns, or rattles some kind of noise maker. Legends say that the noise will scare away the devils and evil spirits who lived in the old year and keep them from coming into the new one.
Farewell (noun): goodbye; this is an older word that is less common than goodbye
Sorrow (noun): sadness; to feel very bad about something
Opportunities (noun): a time when everything is right and someone can do something that is good
Legends (noun): a common story that has been told over and over; often these stories are told by parents and grandparents to children
Times Square (noun): a very famous place in New York City where there are a lot of theaters and stores
Skyscraper (noun): a very tall building
Resolutions (noun): These are promises to break bad habits or start good ones.
Black-eyed peas (noun): a vegetable
Floats (noun): a low, flat vehicle that is decorated with flowers, paper, balloons, and other things. It is driven down the street while people stand or sit on the sidewalk to watch. Often there are special people (famous people or politicians) that ride on these floats.
Parade (noun): an event where people march down the street to celebrate
a special day or person. Parades usually include floats, bands, clowns,
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Last modified on April 27, 1999.