Thursday, January 15, 2009
New Year's Eve (December 31st)
In the United States, the federal holiday is January first, but Americans begin celebrating on December 31.
Sometimes people have masquerade balls, where guests dress up in costumes and cover their faces with masks. According to an old tradition, guests unmask at midnight.
At New Year's Eve parties across the United States on December 31, many guests watch television as part of the festivities. Most of the television channels show Times Square in the heart of New York City.
At one minute before midnight, a lighted ball drops slowly from the top to the bottom of a pole on one of the buildings. People count down at the same time as the ball drops. When it reaches the bottom, the new year sign is lighted.
People hug and kiss, and wish each other "Happy New Year!"