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Why Drop a Ball to Signify the New Year?

31 Dec 2017, 7:10 pm

Why Drop a Ball to Signify the New Year?

Whether your city drops a ball like the one in New York City or a acorn like those in Raleigh, NC, it’s a tradition that helps bring in a new year. But why do we drop anything to signify a new year? It all dates back to the early 1800s. The United Kingdom was the first to “drop the ball” in Greenwich where they used it to signify time for sailors. This was done once a day to help captains calibrate their navigation instruments.

Watch the Ball Drop LIVE

From Greenwich, the idea of dropping a ball to signify a specific time started to spread. This unique form of telling time was installed in over 100 different locations as its popularity started to grow. Not only did the dropping of the ball come in use for navigators, but the public would use the “ball drop” to synchronize their clocks when the ball would drop each day at noon in the U.S.

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Fast forward 74 years to 1907 when Time Square in New York City got its first “time-ball”. Time Square had grown in popularity as the spot to welcome in the new year and seemed to be a fitting place to drop the ball as the new year entered. From their, the tradition of dropping a ball, or acorn, or even a peach like in Atlanta, GA started to signify the new year.


Whether you’re in the comfort of your home watching the ball drop or in the heart of Time Square, temperatures will be brutally cold in New York City this year.

For WeatherNationJosh Cozart


Time Square

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