Monday, December 31, 2018

New Year's Trivia

Tonight, millions of people will celebrate the new year. In the United States, New Year's Eve is celebrated with fancy parties and concerts, family-oriented activities, and public events such as firework shows and "drops." My husband and I tend to stay home, unless we go out to dinner or to an early movie or over to a friend's house to play games.

I thought it might be interesting to talk about some New Year's Eve and Day trivia today. For starters, did you know that New Year's wasn't always celebrated on January 1st? 

The early Roman calendar designated March 1st, as the new year. The calendar had just ten months then, beginning with March. Later, the calendar was extended by two months, but even before the Gregorian calendar was officially adopted as the standard, people had already begun celebrating New Years Day on January 1st.

The New York ball drop is over 100 years old. The first drop was in 1907, which is about six weeks after my home state of Oklahoma became a state. The ball has dropped every year, except for a couple during World War II.

The New Year's Eve kiss has been around since the Middle Ages. Historians say that it originated with German or English folklore, which believed that the first person you kissed would set the tone for the new year.

On January 1, 1788, Quakers in Pennsylvania freed their slaves, anticipating the emancipation of chattel slaves in the United States that occurred some seventy-five years later.

In some parts of the world, to insure a healthy household in the coming year, it is customary for the head of the household to spank his wife on New Years Day.

Queen Victoria became empress of India on January 1, 1877.

In 1969, Congress introduced the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act, which would ban cigarette ads from TV and radio, mostly because of the FCC's urges that the ads broke the Fairness Doctrine. The act was signed on April 1, 1970, but didn't go into effect until January 2, 1971.

Ricky Nelson
(film studio [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
Ricky Nelson, an America rock and roll star died on December 31st, 1985 when his plane crashed, just two miles from the landing strip. Nelson and the rest of the passengers were flying to Dallas for a New Year's Eve concert.

According to data at Box Office Mojo, the highest box office sales draw for a movie on a New Year's day is held by Avatar.

Hawaii was one of the last places on earth to celebrate the new millennium on Jan. 1st, 2000.
What do Paul Revere, J. Edgar Hoover, Lorenzo de Medici, Betsy Ross and Pope Alexander VI have in common?

All of these historical figures came into the world on January 1st. According to tradition, babies born on the first of the year grow up to enjoy the luckiest of lives, bringing joy and good fortune to those around them. I wonder someone born on January 1, 2019 will grow up to greatly influence our world. 

So be honest, do you eat black-eyed peas for New Years Day? If not, do you eat some other food each year? Do you make New Year's resolutions?

Releasing tomorrow! The Runaway Brides Collection. What happens when seven brides get cold feet at the altar?

Amy’s home is at stake if she doesn’t marry her neighbor. Delia’s father wants her to marry into a political family. Georgiana is posing as a wealthy man’s wife in order to hide from her groom. Callie is fleeing one wedding and racing to marry a stranger. Emily flees her wedding with the help of a mysterious coachman. Josey’s best friend leaves a letter proposing marriage unanswered in order to elope. Bernadine becomes the ward and pawn of her evil uncle. Where will each turn when they have only God to trust?

Vickie McDonough is the best-selling author of 50 books and novellas, with over 1.5 million copies sold. Vickie grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead, she married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams penning romance stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie’s books have won numerous awards including the Booksellers Best and the Inspirational Choice awards. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, doing stained glass projects, gardening watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website:


  1. Thanks for the interesting post! I had forgotten about Ricky Nelson, and didn't know lots of the other facts. Our family has no set tradition for New Year's, except that when I was a child, one of my aunts hosted an open house on New Year's Day. Nowadays we would rather just stay in and off the roads. Happy New Year, Vickie!

  2. We tend to do the same thing, especially when the weather is cold. Sometimes we'll go to a movie on New Year's Eve, but that's about the extent of our celebrating. I don't even stay up until midnight any more.

  3. Thank you for sharing your great post! Happy New Year! We will be having our black eyed peas and cabbage tomorrow.