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New Year's celebrations in America always begin on the night of December 31, New Year's Eve. On this night people stay up until at least midnight so they can welcome in the New Year. New Year's Eve is celebrated by going to parties and making lots of noise, especially at the strike of midnight. The tradition of making noise at mid-night has its roots in ancient days when people believed that the noise scared away evil spirits that roamed the earth on this night.

In the early history of America, the new year was observed on March 25 because of the calendar in use then. In 1752, England and America adopted the Gregorian calendar after deciding that the Julian calendar was not accurate. Scotland had been using the Gregorian calendar since sometime in 1600 and the Pope adopted it in 1582. New Year's Day has been celebrated on January 1st since 1753.

Now in America the biggest neighborhood party of the year happens in New York City's Times Square. Millions of people gather every year to watch the Ball Drop as they count down to midnight. At midnight everyone yells HAPPY NEW YEAR. Some people shake hands while others kiss and embrace. The party in Times Square is always televised so the people who can't make it to New York can join the celebration from their homes.

On New Year's Day, it is customary for people to eat black-eyed peas because eating black-eyed peas is supposed to bring good luck for the coming year. They also look forward to the new year by making new year resolutions. New year resolutions are goals that people want to achieve during the upcoming year.

New Year's day is also a time to relax family and friends. The Tournament of Roses, a parade in Pasadena, California, is watch by millions of people, either in person or on television. The floats in the Tournament of Roses are known for the beautiful flowers that are used to make the floats. After the parade the most famous college football game in America, the Rose Bowel, is played.

There are many folktales associated with New Year's Day. Here are a few from Tennessee, my home state.

If you wash your clothes on New Year's Day, you will wash someone out of your family.

If a women comes to see you on New Year's Day, the chickens born that year will all be pullets; if a man comes to see you on New Year's Day, the chickens born that year will all be roosters.

On New Year's night, place a gold band in a glass of water, then take the glass into a dark cellar, and you will see your husband's picture in the bottom of the glass.

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