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  • Writer's pictureMacabre Emporium Pod

Episode 49 - New Year's Eve Traditions and Balls Droppin'


New Year's Eve Traditions/Superstitions

NYE in Time Square
New Year's Eve Ball Drop in Time Square

1 - In Scotland you are supposed to avoid taking out the garbage or proposing on the first day of the new year because they say that doing so will take your luck with it.

2 - If you cry on New Year's Day, it is a sign that bad things are to come. In fact, it could result in you having an entire year of sadness. So basically a typical year for most people.

3 - If you’re a single female and you look out your bedroom window on NYD as soon as you wake up and see a dude walking by, it is a sign you might find yourself married before the end of the year.

4 - In Spain you are supposed to eat 12 grapes between 12 am and 12:01 am. They say it brings you good luck for the upcoming year. They eat 12, to symbolize one for each month of the year.

5 - In Latin America, wearing red underwear on NYE will grant you a relationship in the new year. Wearing both red and yellow underwear brings you love and luck. Wearing gold underwear brings you wealth. Wearing white underwear brings you peace. Just make sure they are clean.

6 - In numerous countries, you are told to be LOUD and to make as much noise as you can as the clock strikes midnight, as this will ward off evil spirits from your home.

7 - If you run around your house 7 times and you’ll have good luck in the New Year. Just don't be surprised if you look like an absolute lunatic.

8 - In Italy, it is common practice to see people tossing things from their windows on NYE. They do this to make room for positive vibes in the New Year. Can you imagine just walking down the street, minding your own, and getting your dome dinged by random falling shit. I'd be so mad.

9 - In Romania, people dress up in bear skins and dance throughout the streets. They do this from Christmas to NYE to ward off severe bad luck. So regular bad luck is ok I guess.

10 - Don’t eat lobster on NYE. Many cultures seem to believe that since lobsters move backward if you eat one before midnight, the new year will have a lot of setbacks for you.

11 - When you think of a Scarecrow you think of fall/Halloween. However, in Ecuador, they are a symbol of the previous year's negative energy. People burn them to start their new year fresh.

12 - Numerous cultures believe that you should not step into the New Year on your left foot. So always start the New Year by stepping with your right foot first to guarantee you start the new year off…on the right foot.

13 - Opening your door just before midnight is supposed to allow you to let the old year out and welcome the new year in. Also, a good way to freeze your nipples off if you live in the midwest.

14 - In China, it is suggested that you do NOT clean, even if you are having a party. They say that if you clean, you will end up throwing away or washing away your good luck. This includes washing your clothes. Keep them dirty until the 2nd and then you're good to go.

15 - On New Year's Eve if you carry an empty suitcase through your home on NYE it means you are inviting excitement and new adventures to you in the New Year.

16 - In the Philippines, some believe that polka dots (or round objects of any kind) are worn to bring money. Since polka dots are round like coins, they think they will bring wealth, abundance, and success in the New Year.

17 - Make sure that you stock your cupboards. It’s said if you go into the New Year with empty, or near empty, cupboards that you will struggle for the next 12 months. Again…much like we already do.

18 - In Japan, Buddhist temples all over the country ring their bells 108 times, as they believe this will get rid of the 108 types of human weakness. 

19 - Don’t let a woman be the first to enter your house in the new year. Known as the “first-foot” or “first-footing,” this superstition from Scotland and Northern England held that it was bad luck for either a light-haired or (depending on the region) a dark-haired man to be the first to enter a home in the new year. Worse was to have a woman be the first to enter. In one Shropshire Valley it was thought to be bad luck for a woman to enter the house at all before noon.

20 - In Puerto Rico, it’s a custom to throw a bucket or a glass of water out the window at midnight to clear out the old year and drive away evil spirits. The water is used to signify all the tears and strife of the year being tossed out so it’s not brought into the new year.

21 - In Colombia and other parts of South America, straw dolls called “old year dolls” are burned at midnight as a way of leaving behind the bad from the previous year. Colombians also carry around empty suitcases on New Year's Eve, hoping for a travel-filled year.

22 - On New Year’s Eve in Russia, it’s a tradition to write your new year wish on a piece of paper, burn it and dump the smoldering ashes into your glass of Champagne, which you then gulp down at midnight.

23 - The tradition of eating black-eyed peas may have begun as far back as ancient Egypt as a way of showing humility and gaining favor from the gods in the new year. The tradition was adopted in the South following the Civil War when all the slaves had to eat were black-eyed peas and pork. As the Emancipation Proclamation took effect on January 1, eating black-eyed peas on New Years became a symbol of freedom and now is an omen for luck and prosperity.

The Podcast in Retrospect

This last year has been great for us, podcast wise. It has led us to meet people we never would have met, and do things we never would have done otherwise. We have definitely gotten closer as a couple doing this together, and there's really no one else I'd ever want to do this with. We have done interviews with other podcasts, and have another in the works, but doing this has really expanded our social circles, which is a bonus. We never thought going in that we would have as much fun with this as we have, but we couldn't be happier. We are growing, and we have you all to thank for that.

I look forward to doing more Victorian era/paranormal while continuing to do true crime.

David, what do you hope to do more of?

Favorite Episode

My favorite episode that was done this year from either side, I'd probably have to say it was God's Rambo - Helgen Meyer. The way David put that together was so well done. Also, the bell mansion episode - that was the only off the cuff, no notes written episode. We talked about our experiences and meeting the podcast folks. Justin Rimmel from Mysterious Circumstance as well and Jerry and Traci Paully from Hillbilly Horror Stories to investigating the paranormal happenings there. It was a good time, and now something we want to do again. And will be in May. We get to go see Justin Rimmel and the Brohio podcast at a haunted jail in Indiana - following that up with another paranormal investigation. If I had to pick one of my own, I don't think I could give you one. All of those cases stick with me and affect me in different ways. 

Thank You’s

From the very bottom of our little black hearts, we want to thank each and every one of you that have found us, listened to us, and continue to listen to us. We appreciate each and every one of you and are glad you’re here with us. Thank you to those that have given us show ideas. Thank you to those that have taken the time to give us feedback and constructive criticism. You have stuck with us from Episode 1, and we hope you stick with us for the next year to come. Thank you for being a part of our weird little family. 



Balls Droppin'

Original NYE ball drop vs. now
The original NYE Time Square ball compared to what it looks like today

NYE is the one holiday where we gather with friends and family and watch balls drop around the world, to usher in the coming year. We have been celebrating the start of the new year since as early as 2000 BCE in Mesopotamia during the vernal equinox (first day of spring March 20th). New Year's Day would be moved to January 1 when Julius Cesar proposed the Julian Calendar in 46 BCE. It is also believed Jan. 1 was selected to honor the Roman God Janus, who had two faces meaning he could go back into the past and move forward into the future.

 But with last week’s episode, I wanted to bring a little bit more than just a small stitching of clips of us behind the scenes. So we are going back to New York again this week for a countdown to the new year.

The first NYE celebration that happened in Times Square took place in 1904, to commemorate the opening of the new headquarters for The New York Times. Alfred Ochs (OX like the animal), The owner of TNYT, would lobby to have the square renamed Times Square from its original name of Longacre Square to honor the newspaper’s new home. Before TYNT moved into this building and held this celebration that would become a holiday bucket list item. It was originally celebrated at Trinity Church near Wall Street. 

Ochs wouldn’t spare any expense to celebrate his building to ensure a party for the ages. Ochs would have an all-day street festival and culminate the event with a fireworks display set off from the base of One Times Square. They estimate that 200k people showed up for this celebration and the crowd's cheers could be heard as far as Croton-on-Hudson, a village 30 miles North on the Hudson River.

Two years later after the city banned the fireworks Ochs would have a ball made of iron and wood constructed and covered in over 100 25w light bulbs. And use the maritime tradition of lowering a ball at noon to tell time. This first ball weighed around 700 pounds. 

During WW2 would be the only time the lighted ball wouldn’t be dropped due to voluntary Dim outs to keep the skyline hidden from possible German submarines in the Atlantic. Instead, they chimed church bells at midnight for these two years.

The ball itself has only changed seven times in the 114 years of this tradition.

  1. The original ball as I previously mentioned was made of wood and iron and had 100 25-watt light bulbs covering it. 

  2. In 1920 the ball would be made completely of iron and only weighed 400 pounds. Still covered in 100 25-watt light bulbs. This ball would be used until 1954 when an aluminum ball would be made and only weighed 150 pounds and was covered in 180 bulbs. 

  3. During the 1980s they replaced the white light bulbs with red and added a leaf and stem in green light bulbs to create a giant apple for the “I Love New York campaign.”

  4. 1995 would be the next big change when an aluminum skin would be added and covered in 10k rhinestones. The light bulbs would be replaced with halogen lamps and computerized lighting effects. This would be known as the glitterball. This year the ball would be two seconds late arriving at the base of the flagpole it was lowered on. This ball would be used until 1999 when the millennium ball was created

  5. The millennium ball would be covered in Waterford crystals and would be the world’s largest crystal ball at 1000 pounds and be six feet in diameter. Covered in 600 halogen bulbs, 504 triangle-shaped crystals, and 96 spinning strobe lights.

  6. 2002, 195 panels would be engraved with the names of countries and organizations that had casualties from the 9/11 attacks. The names of those who were lost in the attacks on the WTC, the Pentagon, and the four flights would be on the ball this year and these panels are in the collection of the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum. 

  7. In 2007 for the 100th anniversary, a completely new ball would be built and covered in 32k LED lights, and weighs almost 6 tons, and is 12 feet in diameter. With LED lighting they can create 16 million different colors.

It is now a permanent display of Times Square and is lit up all year around now.

From December 1st up until December 29th, visitors to Times Square can visit the NYE wishing well and write a wish for the new year on a piece of the 2500 pounds of confetti that will be dumped by hand by 100 volunteers at midnight. 

These numbers stand 7 feet tall and are constructed in Inglewood, CA, and then driven cross country to NYC.  The number 2024 is covered in a total of 602 LED lights and has a combined weight of 1000 pounds.

The coldest ball drop and somehow didn’t have any shrinkage was in 1917 at 1 degree with a wind chill of seven below. 

The average temperature for the ball drop is 34 degrees

The warmest ball drop was in 1972 at 58 degrees

Four inches of snow fell on Times Square in 1948

The wettest ball drop would be in 1936 0.48 inches of rain

Our stats this year:

On Youtube we have 51 Subscribers

Last year we were at 39 followers at this time and we are now at 206 between Spotify, Apple, and Google. 

Our top five episodes for closing 2023 out

Ep.1 - What will it do to your soft tissue?

Ep. 3 - She is just as ugly on the inside as she is the outside

Ep. 2 - Ronald and the Colonel aren’t lovin’ it.

Halloween Bonus Episode

Ep. 5 - 2 Cryptids, 1 Urban Legend

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