Popular American New Year's Traditions
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Popular American New Year's Traditions

The most popular New Year's Eve and New Year's Day traditions followed by Americans

New Year’s Eve and Day are times filled with traditions, annual events and plenty of resolutions. The popular American New Year’s traditions include songs, promises for the future and plenty of revelry. Everyone welcomes the New Year in their own way but many American citizens come together and share several traditions on this popular holiday.

Times Square Celebration

One of the most visible and popularized American New Year’s Eve traditions takes place in New York City, New York’s Times Square. An estimated one million on-lookers gather in the historic Times Square and count down the seconds until the new year begins. The famous sixty second countdown involves a lighted ball descending down the flag pole at the center of the square with those in attendance and at-home spectators counting down the final ten seconds in unison. There is a real sense of togetherness and unity as everyone in the Eastern Standard time zone begins the New Year at the drop of the infamous Times Square ball.


A symbolic gesture borrowed from the Chinese, American love to shoot off impressive fireworks displays on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The loud noises and bright colors of fireworks displayed are related to the ancient tradition of frightening evil spirits and demons away from the coming year. While the modern American may not be concerned with evil infiltrating the coming year, fireworks remain a common occurrence at New Year’s celebrations around the country.

“Auld Lang Syne”

The song sung in not just America but every English speaking country to welcome the New Year and say farewell to the old is “Auld Lang Syne.” This song can be heard at the Times Square Celebration and in just about every bar, restaurant, event space and home living room as midnight on January 1st rolls around. The first verse of this traditional Scottish song is what most people can sing along to, the rest of the song less common among everyday knowledge.


The overall most widely followed American New Year’s tradition is that of making resolutions for the coming year. Popular resolutions made just about every year are to lose weight, get a raise or quit smoking cigarettes. The main goal of a good New Year’s resolution is to better yourself, your community or your station in life.

While they differ from country to country and household to household, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day traditions focus on symbolically saying goodbye to the year gone by and welcoming the coming year with hope and optimism.

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