Life in the USA
New Year's Eve and New Year's Day
Americans celebrate New Year's Eve with a combination of merrymaking and reflection.
New Year's Eve celebrations are associated with the consumption of alcohol, particularly sparkling wine and champagne. Just after midnight, Americans sing the traditional song, “Auld Lang Syne,” and then dance and party into the night.
The celebratory mood changes once the celebrants wake up to greet the first day of January. This is the time to write down “New Year's resolutions,” encompassing those ambitious plans for losing weight, making more money, or working toward world peace. It is a theme (and a joke) in American culture that most of these plans will not survive the second week of January.
The largest New Year's Eve celebration in the United States occurs every year in Times Square in New York City. Hundreds of thousands of live spectators and millions of television watchers count down the final seconds of the year as a glittering glass ball slowly glides down the spire of the building at One Times Square. The event has taken place every year since 1907.
New Year's Day is an official national holiday; banks and offices are closed. Many Americans have New Year's Day get-togethers or “open house” parties during the afternoon, to give friends and family a chance to wish each other well for the coming year.
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