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Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

December 26, 2012

Posted Thursday, December 27, 2012, at 11:00 AM

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Five, four, three, two, one... Happy New Year! Each December 31st, we gather with friends and family to usher in the new year - but how did these traditions begin?

The celebration of the new year is the oldest of all modern holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4,000 years ago. In the years around 2,000 BC, Babylonians celebrated the beginning of a new year on what is now March 23rd, although they had no written calendar. March is actually a good time to celebrate a new year because spring begins and new crops are planted. The Romans' calendar was tampered with by so many emperors that it became out of sync with the sun. In 153 BC the Roman senate declared January 1st to be the beginning of the new year.

Traditions of this holiday usually include making a New Year's resolution, which dates back to the early Babylonians. Popular modern resolutions include getting in shape or quitting a bad habit. The early Babylonians' most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment.

If you're celebrating New Year's Eve this year and find a lull in the conversation, impress your family and friends with this New Year's trivia.

The Time Square New Year's Eve Ball came about as a result of a ban on fireworks. The first ball, in 1907, was an illuminated 700-pound iron and wood ball adorned with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs. Today, the round ball designed by Waterford Crystal, weighs 11,875-pounds, is 12 feet in diameter and is bedazzled with 2,668 Waterford crystals.

Due to wartime restrictions, the New Year's Eve ball was not lowered in 1942 and 1943.

Throughout the year, visitors to Times Square in New York City write their New Year's wishes on pieces of official Times Square New Year's Eve confetti. At the end of the year, the wishes are collected and added to the one ton of confetti that showers the crowd gathered in Times Square in celebration of the New Year.

The top three destinations in the United States to ring in the New Year are Las Vegas, Disney World and New York City.

Food plays a big role in New Year's traditions. Eating black-eyed peas, ham or cabbage are thought to bring prosperity.

According to this survey, 40 to 45 percent of American adults make one or more resolutions each year. The top New Year's resolutions include weight loss, exercise, quitting smoking and better money management

While the history and trivia surrounding New Years is fun, the beginning of a new year is a good time to improve our attitudes and our behavior. One of the best resolutions we can make is a resolve to keep the commandments, for that is the sure way to happiness.

It is my hope that the coming year blesses your family and brings along memories to cherish for a lifetime.

As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Missouri House. If you would like to discuss any issue, please call 573-751-3629. You can also email me at Kent.Hampton@house.mo.gov. I look forward to hearing from you.



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