In the Antebellum South, slaves dreaded January 1 also known as “Heartbreak Day” because New Year’s Day was traditionally when debts were settled, resulting in black families being torn apart as slave owners sold or rented slaves out long-term to pay back those they owed money to.
2. On New Year's Day, 1976, a man named Danny Finegood changed the Hollywood sign to "Hollyweed" as a college prank in order to celebrate the decriminalization of marijuana and got an "A" for it.
3. The world's first commercial airline flight occurred on 1 January 1914 when the former mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida, flew 21 miles (34 kilometers) to Tampa, Florida. The flight took 23 minutes. Ordinarily, the trip would have taken 2 hours by steamship or 4 hours or more by rail.
4. On January 1, 1999, MTV2 played the music video "1999" by Prince continuously all day.
5. Wishing “P.F.” on the New Year is a tradition only known in Czechia and Slovakia, even though PF is a French abbreviation that stands for “pour féliciter” meaning “to congratulate.”
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The reason southerners eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day is because during Sherman's bloody march to the sea the only thing northerners didn't loot or burn were black-eyed peas, thus making them the primary source of food.
7. In Korea, everyone is 1 from the time they are born and everyone gets a year older on New Year's Day. So your Korean age is always either one or two years older than your Western age.
8. In Malaysian-Chinese culture, the new year is commemorated by tossing a salad.
9. Longplayer is a composition that comprises of six short pieces of music designed to play without repetition for 1,000 years. It began playing on January 1, 2000, and will end on December 31, 2999. Its permanent home is Trinity Bouy Wharf in London, and it can be streamed online.
10. The people of ancient Babylon celebrated the new year by slapping the king in the face. If he cried, it was considered a blessing from the Gods.
In 45 B.C., the New Year was moved from March 1 to January 1. Then December 25 was set as the beginning of the New Year. Then it was changed to March 25. Between 1582 and 1752 there were two calendars. Gregorian then replaced the Julian Calendar and January 1 became the legal New Year.
12. On 1 January in 1983, NCP (Network Control Protocol) was switched to TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol). This was the key transition that paved the way for today’s Internet.
13. Every New Year's Day in Scotland since 1986, a polar plunge event called Loony Dook has been held. The event was initially jokingly suggested as a hangover cure but has been repeated every year since then for charity.
14. On January 1, 1907, Theodore Roosevelt shook the hands of 8,510 people, setting a world record he held for over 70 years.
15. The city of Mobile, Alabama, Southern US State, rings in the new year by dropping a Moon Pie.
On January 1, 1942, car companies had to stop using chrome because of the war, resulting in Blackout Specials.
17. On January 1, 1965, a popular kid show host named Milton Supman told his young listeners to rob their parents while they slept, and send him the money.
18. There is a word named quaaltagh denoting the first person to walk through your door on New Year’s Day. The word originally described a group of entertainers who traveled door to door during Christmas. It is said to be desirable for the quaaltagh to be a tall, dark-haired male.
19. The Space Shuttle never flew on new year's day or eve because its computers couldn't handle a year rollover.
20. ‘Dinner For One’ is the most repeated TV show in the world. It is a British end-of-the-pier-music-hall skit, shown every New Year in Germany, on all channels, in English. It has never aired on TV in UK.
In the USA, the annual peaks for cardiac deaths are on Christmas and New Year's Day. Among the possible reasons are delay in seeking medical attention; reduced healthcare staff; increased emotional stress; overindulgence on food/salt/fats/alcohol; respiratory problems from wood-burning fireplaces.
22. For $255,500 you can buy a package that lets you celebrate New Year’s Eve in Sydney from 8 pm - 2 am, then fly on a private jet that arrives in Los Angeles at 8:30 pm December 31st, where you can celebrate New Year's Eve all over again.
23. One particular New Years’ Eve party during the late 1970s held in studio 54 saw 4 tons of glitter dropped. Months later it was possible to find traces of glitter in the homes of people who attended the party.
24. In 2018, Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro, created a campaign and paid a full-page ad saying it's New Year resolution was to give up cigarettes and help those who can't quit smoking to change to better alternatives.
25. At 12:00 a.m. on New Year’s Eve 2017, three men pulled off a $6 million jewelry heist only a half-mile from Times Square and 7,000 NYPD officers. Police said the men waited till midnight, when the officers would be the busiest, to break into KGK Holding Jewelry.