As 2012 winds down, the promise of a fresh start in the new year is right around the corner.
Throughout the world, people will be celebrating the arrival of 2013, a common year starting on a Tuesday in the Gregorian calendar.
The 13th year of the third millennium and the 21st century, 2013 is the first year denoted by four different digits in 26 years — the last time being 1987.
In North America, many will “ring in the New Year” in traditional ways like watching the ball drop. The tradition got its start in New York City at Times Square in 1907.
Since then, the ball has slipped down a specially designed flagpole every year except for 1942 and 1943, due to wartime blackouts, at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31.
Since the debut event, the ball used in the Times Square drop has been updated. At the beginning, it was made from 100 incandescent light bulbs, iron and wood.
The modern version is made from computerized LED lights and has an outer surface of triangle-shaped crystal panels. Since 2009, the ball has been displayed atop One Times Square year round, removed only for general maintenance.
While the original ball drop has sparked countless similar events around the globe, some countries still practise their own unique traditions.
Topping the list of weird and wonderful habits around the world include the Danish ritual of smashing glass on neighbours' doors.
“Strangely this makes them happy instead of annoying them,” a website dedicated to odd traditions stated. “The family with the most huge tower of broken plates, glasses, cups and other crockery is considered to be the most lucky one because it means that they have lots of loyal friends.”
In Mexico, it's common practise to speak to the spirits of loved ones that have passed away. New Year's is considered the best time to ask for guidance or to convey a message.
The Chilean town of Talca has a similar ritual, where its residents flock to the local cemetery at 11 p.m. After the town’s vicar finishes mass, around 11 p.m., the mayor opens the doors to the cemetery and people are welcomed with dim lights and classical music. Those who enjoy waiting for the New Year near their loved-ones' graves can do so in a peaceful atmosphere.
Other places have more playful traditions. In South America, for example, people will wear bright-coloured underwear. Red is a symbol of an amorous year ahead, while those who wear yellow typically wish for money.
The most common tradition at home is kissing in the New Year.
“This will make the coming year incredibly beautiful for you,” according to legend. “(People) believe that this practice brings true love. It washes away the bad memories and fate from the past and marks the beginning of a New Year full of love and life.”
The movie In Search of A Midnight Kiss is themed on this New Year Ritual.
To ring in the New Year in Greater Sudbury, a number of events are lined up, including:
ITALIAN BUFFET, COMEDY SHOW-Food provided by On The Rockz, entertainment by Great Canadian Laugh Off Winner Mark DeBonis and Massimo from the Montreal Just for Laughs Comedy Fest, cash bar, champagne toast, late-night snack and party favours, dance, Theatre Cambrian, tickets $75, 705-918-2601, email@example.com.
SCIENCE NORTH FAMILY FUN DAY-Superhero-themed fun day with games and activities, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Science North, tickets $15/Science North members, $25/general public, sciencenorth.ca/promos/newyearseve.
NEW YEAR'S EVE GALA-Live music with the Whiskey River Blues Band, party favours and midnight lunch, Downstairs at the Falcon Hotel, Garson, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., tickets $30/person, $50/couple.
NAUGHTY NEW YEAR'S EVE COMEDY SHOW-Featuring Phil Rawson, Mark Gagne and Michael Emond, midnight snack, champagne toast, Little Montreal, tickets $25, from Little Montreal.
BLACKCHERRY-Buckcherry Tribute with Sudbury's own LUX featuring Jess Crowe, JoPo, and Kimmy-P, Solid Gold, tickets $30 from Guitar Clinic, Prom Music and Northern Hempisphere.
SNOW BALL GALA-Dinner and dance with entertainment by AbsoluteWeddings.ca, Radisson Hotel, tickets $125/person, $225/couple, dinner gala and room package $285/couple, 705-562-6132.
NEW YEAR'S BASH-Nickel City Hotel, featuring DJ Johnny, party favours, dancing, free.
NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY 2012-SRO, dancing, drinks and music, cover $2/entry only, $5/champagne toast at midnight.