Category Archives: Family

New Year’s traditions focus on bringing good luck

For the new year, do you eat a pretzel? Kiss someone? Eat pork and sauerkraut? Clean the house?

These are just a few of the many, many, many traditions observed to usher in a new year.

If you make any New Year’s resolutions, you’re taking part in a tradition that is said to date to the ancient Babylonians — about 4,000 years ago.

Kiss someone at midnight? The tradition is said to have many origins. One such story dates to Europe’s Renaissance masquerade balls where, according to, “Regardless of a person’s gender and class, sexual license was tolerated at masked balls so that men and women were free to indulge their sexual proclivities with persons of whatever sex and class they chose.”

And, the Washington Post says, English and German folklore suggests kissing the first person one comes in contact with “dictated the year’s destiny,” according to Joanne Wannan, author of “Kisstory: A Sweet and Sexy Look at the History of Kissing.”

And, in Scotland, revelers kissed everyone in the room. This way, apparently, nobody was left out!

By the way, what does your New Year’s kiss style say about you?

Among Irish traditions for ringing in the new year include cleaning, banging Christmas bread and the direction of the wind, according to the Irish Post. And, if you don’t have someone to kiss at midnight, place sprigs of holly, ivy or mistletoe under your pillow and you’ll dream of your future lover.

In Saratoga Springs, New York, smashing peppermint pig-shaped hard candies are said to usher in good luck.

Slow-cooked pork and sauerkraut are on the menu in many homes across Pennsylvania and Ohio on New Year’s Day. This German tradition was brought to America by the Pennsylvania Dutch.

Like many other traditions, this one is said to bring both good luck and prosperity.

The Germans brought another tradition — a New Year’s pretzel. And, you guessed it, this tradition is also said to bring good luck.

Spanish tradition calls for eating 12 grapes. You guessed it — for good luck.

Other traditions include choosing the correct color of underwear, breaking fruit, jump into water and light candles.

Pittsburgh’s First Night celebration includes giant inflatable rabbits, Byron Nash and lots of art

Ring in the new year in Downtown Pittsburgh with First Night Pittsburgh.

In its 28th year (and 19th as part of the Cultural Trust), First Night Pittsburgh offers a variety of arts-focused events to help usher in 2022.

For the first time, First Night Pittsburgh is FREE.

The events will be held from 6 p.m. to midnight in the 14-block area of the Cultural District.

The highlight of the event — aside from fireworks, of course — will be the three gigantic, illuminated rabbits that will be in the 8th Street block of the Cultural District. The largest will be 50 feet tall With the largest measuring 50 feet tall.

What’s planned? There’s a “sing-off competition” and performances by Byron Nash, Julz Powell and Justin Brown of The Byron Nash Trio, magic, visual art, comedy, dance and, of course, the Future of Pittsburgh Grand Finale at midnight.

Look for ice carvings, Steeltown Fire, ZUZU African Acrobats, Siegfried Tieber, Suzanne Lawrence, puppet making, the Pittsburgh CLO Seasons of Love event, soul line dancing and more.

Here is a list of all of the events planned.

Can’t make it or want to cozy up on the couch all night? KDKA-TV will air a special from 11 p.m. until after the fireworks display.

If you are going: Tickets are required for some indoor events.

Regarding the health and safety of patrons, performers, organizers and staff, all Cultural Trust events provide a mask-friendly environment. Masks are required for all indoor spaces. Vaccination proof is required for ticketed events inside Cultural Trust venues.