1. New Year is the oldest of all holidays, as it was first observed in ancient Babylon as many as 4000 years ago.
2. Celebrating New Year on January 1 is purely arbitrary, as neither it has agricultural significance nor astronomical. Many countries still celebrate it in spring, the season of rebirth of new crops.
3. The Roman senate declared January 1 as the New Year in 153 BC. Though even this date saw major tampering, it was Julius Caesar who again declared January 1 in Julian calendar as the New Year, in 46 BC.
4. The first month of the year i.e. January has been named after God Janus (Latin word for door), in the Roman calendar. Janus is the God with two faces, one looking backwards and one forward, at the same time and marks the ‘spirit of the opening’
5. The Romans began a tradition of exchanging gifts on New Year's Eve, by giving one another branches from sacred trees, for good fortune.
6. January 1 was revived as New Year in 1582, by the Gregorian calendar and so celebrated by most of the countries till date.
7. In Britain, when the Big Ben clocks strikes 12, everyone gathers around to sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’, a Scottish song. It was written by Robert Burns in the 1700's, literally meaning "the good old days", to remember old and new friends.
8. Many cultures believe that anything given or taken on New Year, in the shape of a ring is good luck, because it symbolizes "coming full circle".
9. Many parts of the U.S. celebrate New Year by consuming black-eyed peas and other legumes, as it has been considered good luck in many cultures.
10. The tradition of making New Year resolution dates back to the early Babylonians.
11. The Spanish ritual on New Year's eve is to eat twelve grapes at midnight. The tradition is meant to secure twelve happy months in the coming year.
12. Noisemaking and fireworks on New Year's Eve is believed to have originated in ancient times, when noise and fire were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck.
13. Traditionally, it was thought that people could alter the luck they would have throughout the coming year by what they did or ate on the first day of the year. It has, therefore, become important to celebrate first day of the New Year in the company of family and friends.
14. Small oil lights are lit all along the roofs of buildings in western India as part of their New Year celebration.
15. To burn up the old year and roll in the new one, people in some areas of Scotland barrels of tar are set afire and rolled down the streets.