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Countdown to New Year 2019.

OFFICIAL COUNTDOWN: Around the world, the Times Square ball drop in Manhattan is considered the 'official' countdown to the New Year. One million people gather at Times Square to watch it and another one billion people tune in to watch the ceremony.

A lot of enthusiasm, a lot of fun, a lot of resolutions and plates full of delicacies. It is time to celebrate a bygone 365 days and welcome what lies ahead, in good spirits, and feeling optimistic about the future. It's the perfect time for celebration with family, friends and loved ones. New Year celebrations are not new. The earliest known New Year celebrations were in Mesopotamia and date backs to 2000 BC. January 1 as New Year was never a standard practice. Romans, for instance, celebrated March 1 as New Year. Some other cultures went for winter solstice or summer equinox. In order to realign the Roman calendar with the sun, Julius Caesar had to add 90 extra days to the year 46 BC. when he introduced his new Julian calendar and January 1 was accepted as the beginning of the new year. The Gregorian calendar was introduced 400 years ago by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. With most countries now using it as their de facto calendar, January 1 as New Year's Day is arguably the most celebrated event, often observed with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts in each time zone. New Year's Eve customs around the world are all unique. The superstitions are meant to create good luck, fortune, happiness and overall a better future. Eating black-eyed peas on the day of New Year is believed to bring good luck in several parts of US. Estonians eat 7, 9 or 12 meals on the eve of New Year. Danish throw dishes at the doorsteps of other people. Spanish tradition is to eat 12 grapes at midnight of December 31. Each grape represents one of our wishes, and if we manage to stuff every one into our mouth, 'all our dreams will come true!' At midnight on December 31, Buddhist temples all over Japan ring their bells a total of 108 times to symbolise the 108 human sins in Buddhist belief. Greeks have the tradition of breaking pomegranates right at their doorsteps. Fireworks originated centuries ago and are believed to have been invented by the Chinese. They are said to chase away evil spirits and bring good luck, making them a perfect way to begin a new year! Around the world, the Times Square ball drop in Manhattan is considered the 'official' countdown to the New Year. One million people gather at Times Square to watch it and another one billion people tune in to watch the ceremony. Starting exactly at 11:59pm, the 11,875 lbs ball with 2688 Waterford crystal triangles goes through a minute-long descent and hits the ground at the stroke of the midnight. As the roller coaster that was 2018 comes to a close, the celebrations have already begun. There's no better way to celebrate 'auld langsyne' than making wishes and going into the new year with a positive attitude. Welcome to Nutty' Infotainment. YAYS! And our time starts NOW! Auld Lang Syne is traditionally sung at midnight on New Year's Eve. It was written by Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788. What does the title Auld Lang Syne mean? Times gone by In 2011, officials in the Independent State of Samoa decided to move from the eastern side of the International Date Line to the western side, making it the first country to do what every year? Celebrate New Year When was the first ball dropping celebration atop the One Times Square in New York held? December 31, 1907. Name the one thousand year long musical composition which began playing at midnight on the 31st of December 1999, and will continue to play without repetition until the last moment of 2999, at which point it will complete its cycle and begin again. It can be heard in the lighthouse at Trinity Buoy Wharf, London, where it has been playing since it began. Longplayer There are only 14 possible calendars. When can the 2018 calendar be used next? In 2029 A very important historical proclamation was formally made this day (Dec 30) in 1922 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. What was it? Creation of Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Who holds the record for the most singles titles at the Qatar Open, currently part of the ATP World Tour 250 series of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Tour? Roger Federer. He won the title in 2005, 2006 and 2011. How many steps is it to the top of the Empire State Building, from the first to the 102nd floor? 1,860 A group of ravens is called unkindness. What is a group of unicorns called? Blessing Identify the below Filipino nationalist and polymath who was executed this day (Dec 30) in 1896 by the Spanish colonial government for the crime of rebellion. (Answer next week. Answer to last week's photo-quiz: Mikhail Kalashnikov, Father of AK-47 or Avtomat Kalashnikov.)

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Publication:Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar)
Date:Dec 29, 2018
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