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December 30 2015 Today in History Newsletter


Before the end of another year, here is this week’s feature from Today in History at BellaOnline:

Hogmanay - The Scottish New Year Festival
Every December 31, New York City’s New Year countdown takes center stage. But do you know about Hogmanay? It’s an even bigger party – in Scotland.

Not only do the Scots celebrate New Year’s Eve for longer, but since the Prime Meridian passes through United Kingdom, Scotland rings in the new year 5 hours earlier than New York. (The first countries to welcome New Year’s Day are Samoa and Kiribati, island nations in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The last, weirdly, includes American Samoa, a U.S. territory about 100 miles southeast of Samoa.)

Of course, the New Year’s Eve party at Times Square does predate Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, though not the Scottish festival itself. According to, the Times Square celebration began in 1904, and the ball made its debut three years after that. Made of iron and wood, the first ball weighed a whopping 700 pounds (318 kg) and was lit up by one hundred 25-watt bulbs. The Centennial Ball in use now, introduced for the 100th anniversary, features brilliant LED lighting by Waterford Crystal and Philips. It inspired the construction of a permanent Big Ball, a year-round attraction above Broadway and 42rd Street.

I hope you’ll enjoy this week’s feature. As always, I welcome any feedback you might have for me. Send me a personal note by clicking on my name at the top of any Today in History page, which will take you to a page with a comment box.

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Feel free to just read others’ posts, but you can also ask and answer questions with fellow readers of the site. A link to the forum is also visible on every page of the site. I really look forward to future conversations with you!

Have a wonderful last day of 2015 and a prosperous new year to come!

Lane Graciano
‘Today in History’ Editor

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