The History of the New Years Eve Countdown

The New Year holiday is unique in that it revolves around time itself. All we are really celebrating is a change of date or a new calendar, but we’ve made it symbolically a holiday of hope and renewal. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. One of the traditions of celebrating on New Years Eve is counting down the seconds until the clock strikes midnight. Before the 20th century, bells would ring at midnight and  celebrants would cheer, but the actual countdown is more recent than you might suspect. The first New Years Eve countdown was on radio in 1957, and it was only in 1979 that the crowd at Times Square began to chant along with the countdown!

No one ever really thought about counting down the seconds to an event until nuclear detonations and the space race came along. Those two subjects illustrate how countdowns ranged from despair to celebration in their history. Read how the New Year countdown evolved and became a tradition at Smithsonian.

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Source: neatorama

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