New Years Eve
While New Years Eve is not a federal holiday in the UK it is a day to celebrate the end of one year and at the stroke of midnight, the beginning of a new year. To celebrate New Years Eve many British conduct parties and invite friends and family to them.
Television is very popular on New Years Eve with millions of British watching the New Year’s celebrations.
Regardless of where you are on New Years Eve, there is a tradition of counting down to midnight and people hug and kiss each other and wish each other a “Happy New Year”.
New Years Day
New Years Day is celebrated all over the United Kingdom on 1 January each year.
New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day
New Year’s Eve
Without a doubt, New Year’s Eve is the largest celebration on the UK calendar each year. Following close as it does on the heels of Christmas, one could well imagine that New Year might be a quiet affair, due to the prior celebrations only a few days before, yet this is far from the truth.
The Day Before
Most people will be working on the day of New Year’s Eve, as this is not a UK public holiday; although in recent years many companies have decided to close their doors regardless of this. For those that are working, this day is usually a very relaxed affair, a day when employers usually allow their staff a little leeway, and quite often let them go home early.
New Year’s Eve Proper
Come the evening, a huge percentage of the UK population, especially the younger folks, will welcome the New Year in by attending a party or some other event. The younger generation tends to spend most of the evening in a bar, and then move on to a night club, whilst the older generations seem to prefer smaller house parties, usually with family. Either way, New Year’s Eve is the one night of the year when drinking to excess is excused and partying to the max is encouraged.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks
Over the last decade fireworks on New Year’s Eve have become an increasing feature of the celebrations.
These days there are government provided displays, usually televised with live celebrity presenters.
Each year the firework display on London’s South Bank seems to become larger and more impressive, and millions of viewers tune in to witness the spectacle, whilst the brave make the pilgrimage to the centre of London on a cold December night.
Ten years ago the New Year’s Eve countdown was usually something that happened locally, at home or at the party or event you were attending. Now, much like the firework displays, the national countdown to midnight is a televised affair, usually part of the same programming which carries the firework displays. Huge display screens are set up in every major city throughout the United Kingdom and the nation celebrates the coming of the New Year as one.
Auld Lang Sine
At the stroke of midnight, the song Auld Lang Sine is sung, to welcome in the New Year. Oddly enough, almost everybody in the UK will know the words to this traditional song, yet very few will know its true meaning. The phrase “Auld Lang Sine” is of Scottish origin, and when used within the context of the chorus of the song Auld Lang Sine it means “for the sake of old times”.
No article about New Year’s Eve would be complete without mentioning the immediate aftermath of the celebrations. Until around ten years ago, the general public were forced to find their own way home, usually in the early hours of the morning, when public transport had stopped for the night. This lead to problems as people struggled to find a way home. Now most major public transport networks provide at least a skeleton service throughout the night, to help people get home after the celebrations.
New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day is a designated public holiday in the UK, and this is probably for the best, as this is the single day of the year when a high percentage of the population will be suffering from lack of sleep and very possibly a hangover. Almost everyone will have stayed awake until midnight the night before to welcome in the New Year, many people will have stayed awake far longer.
Because New Year’s Day follows such a heavy night as New Year’s Eve, and marking as it does the end of the holiday season of Christmas, it tends to be a fairly subdued day in most homes. A time to be with family and friends.
New Year’s Day at the Pub
Most years this will be a pretty quiet affair, unless New Year’s Day happens to fall on a Friday or Saturday, meaning no work the next day for most people. On these days, quite often a smaller celebration similar to New Year’s Eve will happen in a spontaneous way. Around lunchtime many people will pop into their local pub for a hair of the dog to brighten them up after a long night, and to wish a Happy New Year to their friends.
New Year’s Resolutions
Many people see the New Year as a time of renewal, out with the old and in with the new, a time for a fresh start. Towards this end we have the tradition of the New Year’s resolution. People will tend to pick one (or sometimes more) thing that they intend to change in the following year. For many it will be something tangible such as giving up smoking. For others it is something less definable, such as trying to be happier. People encourage each other to keep their new year’s resolutions, and every now and then somebody might even make it! It is not sure where this tradition stems from, but there are some parallels with religious celebrations such as Yom Kippur and Lent.
New Year’s Day Evening
If New Year’s Eve was about new beginnings and parties, then New Year’s Day evening is about friends and family. Most people are by now rather tired from the festive season overall, and New Year’s Day evening is seen as something of a wind up session, where people gather with their loved ones, and spend time reminiscing over the past year, recalling those that have passed away, and planning for the future. Usually this will happen at home, often over a small meal, or more typically a buffet, with a few drinks.
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