In modern times, at least in most New Year’s celebrations witnessed by the author of this blog post, people who are indoors generally huddle around the television set as midnight is approaching. Nowadays, many may be watching giant LCD screens or plasma or HDTVs, but the feelings are similar whether watching a 10 year old flat panel television, or a more dare I say primitive TV that might be 15 or 20 or so years old. Could be cable, satellite, or the old fashioned analog signals (last year for that!) streaming and picked up through the air.
Most sets watch the change in time by watching as other huge crowds assemble in places like Times Square in New York, not far from our very own clocks Store. One can also witness celebrations going on in different parts of the USA and different parts of the world. And it is a holiday with such anticipation and high expectations placed by individuals on themselves. A time for reflection. A time to think about the future.
Now pretend you are going back 100 years in a time machine. No television. No electronics, period (if you are younger than 20 and reading this, you may want to take a deep breath right now ……). So how might you celebrate the ringing in of the New Year? Not unlikely is that many families probably celebrated the New Year coming in and the passage of the old one looking at a grandfather clock. It is not hard to imagine families around the country and around the world, in their own homes or with others, ringing in the New York as the grandfather clocks were striking 12.
Even before grandfather clocks were first introduced in the mid 1600s, and at that time owned only by the most wealthy and powerful individuals of that era, people had smaller timekeepers which would have helped them know when to shout for joy, blow horns, kiss, or whatever the conventions of the time dictated.
When sundials were used before, I wonder exactly how New Years were celebrated in different eras in diffirent cultures. Maybe in another blog post we will research and report on that.
My personal favorite way to spend New Years is to be at the movies with a loved one(s), and not even know exactly when midnight comes and goes. Different, I know.