(PCM) All across the world folks will be celebrating the New Year with various customs and traditions, however one of the most well-known and well-preserved traditions takes place in heart of Times Square in New York City with the dropping of the now 11,875 pound ball adorned with over 2,500 Waterford Crystals and 32,000 LED lights. Over 1 billion tune in to watch the famous ball drop at midnight to ring in the New Year, but when did the tradition of dropping a ball on New Year’s Eve begin?
History tells us that dropping a ball was a way to tell time. Time balls, like the one we see on New Year’s Eve, were invented in the early 1800’s as a way for sailors to keep track of the exact time of day. The trend caught on and many individuals other than sailors began using time balls to set their clocks.
The tradition of dropping the time ball on New Years Eve in New York began back in 1907 when the very first New Year’s Eve Ball was lowered down a flagpole that was situated on top of the building that housed the New York Times newspaper. The original ball weighed about 700 pounds was crafted out of iron and wood and adorned with only about 100 lights.
Funny enough the original plan was to set off fireworks, as the New Year’s Eve Ball was a back-up plan, however the city officials would not issue a permit for the fireworks display and hence the tradition of the New Year’s Eve ball drop was born. Over the years the New Years Eve Ball has undergone some major renovations and it was eventually moved to it’s now permanent home atop the One Times Square building in the city.
Each and ever year the ball begins it’s 141 foot decent down the pole at exactly 11:59pm and once the drop occurs at exactly midnight the New Year has arrived! Other cities in the country have alternatives to dropping at ball at midnight, however the concept still remains the same. In Wisconsin the drop a light adorned metal cheese wedge, in Memphis it’s a guitar, and in New Mexico there is a brightly lit chili pepper just to name a few!
Happy New Year everyone … enjoy!
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