Baby New Year The tradition of using a baby to signify the New Year began in Greece in 600 BC. It was their tradition to celebrate their god of wine, Dionysus, by parading a baby in a basket, representing the annual rebirth of that god as the spirit of fertility. Early Egyptians also used a baby as a symbol of rebirth. Although Christians denounced the practice as paganistic, the popularity of the baby as a symbol of rebirth forced them to reevaluate their positions. The church then allowed the members to celebrate the New Year with a baby, which was to symbolize the birth of Jesus Christ. The image of a baby with a New Year's banner was brought to early America by Germans, who had been using the symbol since the 14th century. Black Eyed Peas If you eat Black Eyed Peas for the first meal of the New Year you will have good luck and prosperity. But why? Eating Hoppin' John (black eyed peas and hog jowls) was considered a delicacy for the rich in early America, even by our First President. Black eyed peas were possibly served at the first Thanksgiving as well. Fireworks The Chinese people believe that on New Years there are evil spirits lurking around. They set off fireworks to frighten them away. Kissing at Midnight In English and German folk belief, special significance was attached to the sex, stature, appearance, complexion and even the occupation of the first person one encountered in the New Year. Over the years, we have taken this one step further and made a tradition of kissing a special person on New Years. Predictions In German tradition, New Year's Day was regarded as one of the Lostage, or oracle days. Other oracle days were Christmas, Twelfth Night and Midsummer's Day. Resolutions The Ancient Babylonians originated the idea of New Year's resolutions, although their most popular resolution was returning their neighbors' farming tools. Tournament of Roses Parade and New Years Day football The Tournament of Roses Parade dates back to 1886, when members of the Valley Hunt Club decorated their carriages with flowers to celebrate the ripening of the orange crop in California. The football game was played in 1902, and was replaced in 1903 by chariot races. In 1916 the football game was reinstated as the sport of choice for the festival. Why do we clink our glasses when drinking a toast? In medieval times, a common way to kill an enemy was to offer him a poisoned drink. To prove to the guest that a drink was safe, the host would receive a small amount of the guest's drink in his own glass, and both would drink at the same time. If the guest trusted the host, rather than pouring some of his drink into the host's glass he would simply clink his glass against it. Although offering a poisoned drink is no longer a popular way to kill someone, the custom of clinking glasses still remains. Also, in medieval times, the sound of bells was thought to scare off the Devil. The Devil was thought to frequent festive occasions, so the bell-like sound of glasses clinking was often heard at such events.