New Year's Eve: Celebrating by the Numbers

Dick Clark
Dick Clark

Champagne? Check.

Noisemakers? Check.

TV set turned to Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve? Check.

Party game to kill time as you wait for the clock to strike midnight? We can help with that.

Gather your friends and family to try your hand at some New Year's Eve trivia:

Times Square Ball Drop Tidbits

Last year, 9.1 million people tuned in to Dick Clark's New Year's Eve show to watch the famed ball drop in New York's Times Square. This tradition has largely carried on since the ball's maiden voyage in 1907. But how many folks know the ball's vital stats?

  • Times Square New Year's Eve Ball diameter in 2011: 12 feet.

  • Diameter for maiden voyage in 1907: 5 feet.

  • Construction materials in 2011: Aluminum, 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles, 32,256 LEDs .

  • Materials in 1907 for maiden voyage: Iron, wood, and 100 25-watt lightbulbs.

Bubbly Brain Teasers

What's a New Year's Eve party without champagne? Here are a few factoids on the bubbly that so many Americans chose for toasting in the New Year, as well as on what others drink around the world to celebrate at the stroke of midnight. Cubans, for example, drink an alcoholic cider, and also eat 12 grapes to represent each month of the year, making a wish with each grape consumed.

  • Champagne with the largest average price pop over the past decade? Cooks Imperial Grand Reserve, with a 65.6% increase.

  • Champagne with the fastest growth over the past decade based on bottles sold in the U.S.? Clicquot Ponsardin Brut Yellow Label NV -- a 129.8% increase.

  • Most popular champagne in the U.S. based on bottles sold as of October? Andre Extra Dry.

  • Favorite New Year's Eve toasting drink in Japan? Sake.

  • Favorite in Cuba? Sidra.

Date Night

While America and a number of other countries celebrate New Year's Eve on Dec. 31, many countries use a different set of dates to signal the start of a new year. Some of these dates go back to ancient times, when spring was selected because blooming flora and fauna signaled new life, while the fall was selected by some cultures because it marks the time when people are grateful for the crops that are harvested. The website GoalsGuy Learning Systems has an extensive list of when other countries celebrate New Year's Day. Among them:

  • Bengal: April 13 or 14.

  • Burma: On or around April 16.

  • China: Yuan Tan falls between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20, depending on the lunar calendar.

  • Thailand: From April 13 to 15.

  • Pakistan: Nowruz falls on March 21.

Whether you celebrate New Year's on Dec. 31 or another date, the meaning of the new year is pretty much the same from country to country: a clean slate and hopes for better times ahead.

Motley Fool contributor Dawn Kawamoto is heavily invested in the spirit of the holidays.


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