Why do we Watch a Big Ball Drop Every New Year’s Eve?

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Why do we Watch a Big Ball Drop Every New Year’s Eve?

Audrey Hancock, Staff Writer

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Why are Americans obsessed with watching a ball drop from the sky on New Year’s Eve? New Year’s is a celebration that people enjoy because it’s a chance to start over, either by creating New Year’s resolutions we can’t keep, celebrating another year to party with friends, or just spending quality time with family. But why the ball?

   According to Time Magazine’s official website, “On New Year’s Eve, Americans may turn on their televisions and have a ball watching a sparkling orb be lowered from a flagpole at the top of One Times Square. The conclusion of the ball drop has become the annual signal that the clock has struck midnight on the first day of the year” (time.com).

   This glittery ball-dropping commencement isn’t a new thing. “The concept of dropping a ball to mark time dates back to the mid-1800s in England. One of the earliest time-balls was the one atop the Flamsteed House of the Greenwich Observatory along the River Thames. Starting in 1833, it was lowered every day at exactly 1 p.m. to signal the time to sailors and Londoners who could not afford clocks and watches” (abc7.com).

   According to a New York City real estate and architecture news site, more than one million people pack the streets of Times Square and one billion people watch the ball drop from the comfort of their screens at home (6sqft.com). Senior Kohei Hayashi explained that when he went to Times Square one year, there were hundreds of people there celebrating the coming of the new year together, which made it so much more special.

   Not only do we drop a ball for New Year’s in New York, but other places across the US drop the most random of objects to celebrate the coming of the new year. According to ABC News, for example, North Carolina drops everything from acorns to possums. Pennsylvanians drops a giant Peep and bologna. Key West, Florida drops a drag queen in an oversized shoe (abc7.com). It seems as though pretty much anybody can make their own New Year’s dropping tradition. What’s more exciting than drag queens and possums dropping from the sky; am I right?

    Freshmen Alyssa Kaplan said, “I find it exciting to watch the ball drop with my friends and family. Even though New Year’s makes a big mess, it’s a great holiday to celebrate.”

   Due to the ball drop tradition, the most known place to celebrate the event is in Times Square, New York. According to a Time Square’s official site, “Revelers began celebrating New Year’s Eve in Times Square as early as 1904, but it was in 1907 that the New Year’s Eve Ball made its maiden descent from the flagpole atop One Times Square,” explains a website about Times Square’s Ball Drop ceremony (timessquarenyc.org). When the clock strikes midnight, not only do revelers burst into a fit of bright, happy, chaotic excitement, but the air is filled with wishes, hopes, and dreams for the New Year, along with confetti, of course.

   In the short amount of time that it takes for the extravagant ball to drop, the dream of new beginnings fills people with wonder. New Year’s celebrations are remembered for years to come. Whether you watch the Time’s Square ball drop or drop some object of your own, Happy New Year’s!

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