Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

How did New Year's Eve become such a party night?

Asked by wundayatta (58596points) December 31st, 2010

I guess this is kind of a rant, but I’d be interested in other people’s thoughts about this.

When I was young—in my twenties—I used to love New Year’s Eve. It was the one time of the year when I got really wasted, and it seemed like anything could happen at a party (and sometimes it did happen).

I don’t mind using it as an excuse for a party. What I wonder about is the randomness of it all. We could choose any day of the year to be the new year day—there are so many different ones all over the world. I know the Chinese and Jewish new years are all different—maybe the Eastern Orthodox calendar is different, too.

It’s not so much why January first. Obviously the calendar makes that necessary. But we could have chosen to start counting in the spring or summer or fall, too. But it’s kind of why did we even come up with the idea that a new year should be celebrated? How did we get to the idea that it should be celebrated by getting wasted?

And what of those of us who don’t do that any more? We sit home, maybe watch a movie or a little TV, and we treat it like any other night. Maybe some, like me, remember their party days a bit wistfully. Or not so wistfully, if they never did like parties.

Still, it feels to me like there’s an expectation in the air—all this talk of resolutions and assessments of the past year and hopes for the new one. We could be doing this any day. Some of us do it every day.

Why is the new year so special? Why did we all agree to treat it like it is a time of assessment and resolution? Why do we act as if it matters?

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14 Answers

Axemusica's avatar

New Year’s has always been about new beginnings. Hence to wash away the sin’s of yesterday. (No I’m not religious, lol) What better way to start the Fresh new year than with get’n down and dirty right before it?

CaptainHarley's avatar

Humans will use any excuse, or no excuse at all, to have a party. Yaaayyy! : D

bkcunningham's avatar



Life I am the new year.

I am an unspoiled page in your book of time.

I am your next chance at the art of living.

I am your opportunity to practice what you have learned about life during the last twelve months.

All that you sought and didn’t find is hidden in me,

waiting for you to search it out with more determination.

All the good that you tried for and didn’t achieve

is mine to grant when you have fewer conflicting desires.

All that you dreamed but didn’t dare to do, all that you hoped but did not will,

all the faith that you claimed but did not have—

these slumber lightly, waiting to be awakened

by the touch of a strong purpose.

I am your opportunity

to renew your allegiance to Him who said, “behold, I make all things new.”

I am the new year.

—Author Unknown

Math321's avatar

Because we can.

flutherother's avatar

Because it’s Hogmanay and a Happy New Year when it comes!

rooeytoo's avatar

I never liked it, for the reasons you did, too many people getting wasted and the anger rising. I lost 2 very good friends, a couple who were wonderful together and died together on a NYE many years ago. Heading home from a dinner party at about 9:30 PM, hit by a drunk driver who walked away unscathed.

To me, it seems a time to mourn the end not to get excited about the new.

That sounds really depressed and I’m not, I just never found it a reason to get excited.

jazmina88's avatar

I loved the party years, Grateful Dead shows….Beale St.

now I sit with the dog with raspberry spumanti

CaptainHarley's avatar


LOL! I know how you feel! : D

LuckyGuy's avatar

It’s the day we put all the business receipts for the previous year in one folder and start a new one for the next.
Who doesn’t love the smell and feel of new stationery? Happy New Year!

JustJessica's avatar

I found this quote today and found it so appropriate.

“New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions.” ~Mark Twain~

woodcutter's avatar

cause Dick Clark says so. He was around for the very first one

MissAnthrope's avatar

I can only explain why New Years makes me want to celebrate and party like crazy. If I had a bad year, I can celebrate it being over and done with, cleanly finished, and gone. It’s a huge relief! Then I can focus on my hopes of the next year being better.

If I had a good year, then I celebrate how awesome it was. These are usually the best New Years celebrations, just because I’m happy and satisfied in general. Grateful for having a good year and then, again, hoping the next one will be as good.

As for the party aspect.. well.. look at Halloween! It’s great fun to celebrate and let loose and drink and have fun. But responsibly, of course.. sorry to hear that about your friends, @rooeytoo . :(

hotgirl67's avatar

Hey sometimes people just need to party and have some fun.

bammer's avatar

many see it as a new beginning how better to start than with a party
many see it as a end how better to end somting than being drunk and forget what wass and not caring what will come

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