What the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball Drop is All About

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The Times Square Ball has had seven different designs - Credit: RW/MediaPunch/IPx/AP

There are so many precious traditions and cultures scattered across the world, hence, there is always something to do to commemorate an event or occasion. Today, this article will focus on the Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop tradition.

The Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop since its inception has witnessed several New Yorkers throng the busiest section of the city, the Times Square to countdown to a new year. A ball of many colours is lowered down slowly on a pole from the rooftop of the Square to its base at 11:59 pm on December 31, the last day of each year and also known as New Year’s Eve.

This was no exception in 2023 as about 15,000 spectators marched to the square to witness 2024 with loved ones. Instead of the usual capacity of 60,000 people, the numbers were reduced due to a new rise in the spread of the omicron variant, CNN reports. Other spectators were also asked by organisers to join virtually.

After a 60-second countdown to a new year, Times Square witnesses several lovers lock lips to usher in the new year with hopes of attracting only good fortunes in their lives.

But how did this New Year’s Eve tradition start? Let’s delve in!

The first New Year’s Eve ball drop was commemorated on December 31, 1907, atop One Times Square and since then the tradition has been observed by New Yorkers.

A publisher at the New York Times, Adolph Ochs in collaboration with a Ukrainian immigrant and metal worker, Jacob Starr pioneered the idea of a ball lowered down to celebrate a new year after officials banned explosives from being used during the days of pyrotechnics and fireworks.

The ball has over the years evolved from metal to wood and then to a ball of many colours.

Meanwhile, long before the Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop was ever celebrated, the first-ever ball was set atop England’s Royal Observatory at Greenwich at 1:00 every afternoon for sailers to know exactly when to set their chronometers in 1833.

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