New Year Fullervision Style, 2008-2009
Fullervision presents, for the
first time ever on this site, "New Year's Fullervision Style 2008-09,"
a documentation of the New Year's Celebration.
The Establishment of the Current Calendar
The calendar we currently use is the Gregorian Calendar. It was
established by Pope Gregory in 1582 and followed by most of Europe
under Roman Catholic rule. However, England (and by association, its
American colonies), did not follow suit until September 1752 (England
had its own church). This was the calendar that
set the first day of the year at January 1.
The Gregorian Calendar was based on the Julian Calendar, which had
been in use for centuries before; it, in turn, was a retrofitted
version of the Roman Calendar, with the year adjusted to roughly
correspond to the life of Jesus Christ. This calendar set the beginning
of the year at March 21 (hence why February, at the time the last month
of the year, was also the shortest and the one to which the leap day
was applied). At the time, this was the same as the vernal equinox, the
first day of spring. However, as the centuries passed, it became
apparent that a certain "drift" was occurring-- the equinoxes and
solstices that marked the seasons were occurring earlier and earlier.
This meant that the calendar year was just slightly longer than the
solar year (by, almost precisely, 3 days for each 400 years). The "leap
year day" of February 29, which had been added to the calendar many
centuries before because the calendar year was too short, had been observed every four
years to fix this, and it almost worked. Pope Gregory proposed removing
three leap years every 400 years, by removing the "leap year"
designation from any year that was divisible by 100 (i.e. ended in
"00") but not divisible by
400. The Pope retroactively applied this and allowed the official date
to jump ahead 10 days, correcting the errors of the past centuries. (In
England, where the change was applied later, 11 days had to be skipped,
since that country had a February 29 in 1700 and the rest of Europe did
By this time, the date of the "New Year" had changed to January 1 at
this time. It's possible that this was
chosen to bring it closer to Christmas, as the New Year traditionally
symbolizes birth and renewal.
Timekeeping and astronomy has become so precise in recent years that
international organizatons are now able to reduce the "leaps" necessary
to keep the calendar and solar years in phase to a mere second every
few years, virtually unnoticeable to most people.
The New Year is generally only recognized by nations dominated by
Catholic and Protestant Christians. Muslims follow the lunar calendar,
which is 11 days shorter than the solar calendar; as such, their
calendar drifts much faster (to the point where holidays that are in
the winter end up in the summer 16 years later). The Jews have a
lunar-solar hybrid calendar that adds an entire month to the calendar
each leap year. Russian Orthodox Christians still use the Julian
calendar, never adopting the adjustments, and are about two weeks
behind the Gregorian calendar.
The tradition of dropping a ball on New Year's Eve dates to the use
of time balls to
synchronize timepieces in the 1800s. At observatories,
a ball would be placed at the top of a tower and slowly lowered so that
it reached the bottom of the tower in a specified period of time
(usually one minute).
New York City, in the early 1900s, revived this tradition as a
symbol of the new year, by dropping the Times Square Ball from the
top of Times Square at 11:59 Eastern Time and having it land at
midnight to significant fanfare. It has been celebrated every year
since in Times Square, with the exception of a few years during World
War II. The event grows bigger each year, with over a million visitors
in 2007-08. Other cities are known to celebrate ball drops as well: in
Atlanta, they drop a replica of a peach each year, known as the Peach Drop; it is the
largest event of its kind in the Southeastern United States and draws a
crowd of tens of thousands. Buffalo boasts a similarly sized
celebration known as the Buffalo
Ball Drop, which has been happening since 1988-89 and
currently draws a crowd of approximately 40,000. Both are carried on
local television. More bizarre, perhaps, are the 100 or more local
imitators of these ball drops. Wikipedia has a
Other celebrations, usually consisting of only fireworks, exist in
Seattle, Toronto and Las Vegas (Fox News covers Las Vegas events), and
the First Night organization holds celebrations across the country.
ABC is the most extensive of New
Year's coverage, and although (unlike the Macy's Thanksgiving Day
Parade and NBC) they are not the official broadcaster of the New York
ball drop, they are the most widely known.
- Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest
December 31 at 10:00 p.m.
Eastern Time. The ubiquitous Ryan Seacrest is the host of this annual
program on the East Coast, with singer Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson handling
West Coast duties. Dick Clark, still recovering from the lingering
effects a stroke he suffered in 2004 and old age finally starting to
catch up with him, joins Seacrest from ABC's Times Square studios to
count down to midnight. Musical performances by contemporary musicians
punctuate the broadcast.
- Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!
December 30 at 8:30 p.m. This
1985 special also happens to feature Fergie (although much younger, as
the voice of Charlie Brown's little sister, Sally) and has not been
seen on TV since probably the late 1980s. ABC brings it back this year.
- Rudolph's Shiny New Year
December 30 at 8:00 p.m. This
is the sequel to the original Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and
features Rudolph hunting down the traditional New Year's baby through
all time. It has been seen mostly on ABC's sister outlet, ABC Family,
but is also seen on and off on ABC itself (it was last seen on ABC in
2006, but not in 2007).
- Tournament of Roses Parade - 1/1 11:00 a.m.
A two-hour telecast of the annual New Year's Day
event live from Pasadena, CA, featuring floats construced entirely out
of flowers and Cloris Leachman as grand marshal. Other networks
carrying this parade include NBC, HGTV, Travel Channel, and WGN America
- Capital One Bowl - Georgia v. Michigan State, 1/1 1:00 p.m.
Formerly known as the Citrus
- Rose Bowl - Southern California v. Penn State, 1/1 4:30 p.m.
- New Year's Eve with Carson Daly
Simulcast on the NBC Universal
cable networks (CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo), Carson Daly's somewhat
lesser-known coverage of the ball drop began in the early 2000s. For
decades, this coverage was hosted by Tonight Show hosts Johnny Carson
(until 1991-92) and then Jay Leno (1992-2003?). Daly currently hosts
"Last Call," a much later late-night show, on NBC.
- Tournament of Roses Parade - 1/1 11:00 a.m. (see "ABC" for
- 2009 NHL Winter Classic: Detroit Red Wings @ Chicago
Blackhawks, 1/1 1:00 p.m.
After the success of the 2008
Buffalo-Pittsburgh matchup, the NHL is carrying another outdoor game on
New Year's Day in 2009 with the Blackhawks hosting "Hockeytown's" Red
Wings at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
- Brut Sun Bowl - Pittsburgh v. Oregon State, 12/31 2:00 p.m.
- Konica-Minolta Gator Bowl - Clemson v. Nebraska, 1/1 noon
- CBS is the only one of the Big Four that does not
Year's Eve coverage live, having last done so in 1995-96. Guy
Lombardo's band, the Royal Canadians, was the host of their coverage
live from the Waldorf-Astoria from 1956 to 1979. From 1979 to 1996
(under the name "Happy New Year America"), rotating hosts hosted from
Waldorf-Astoria while additional segments were added from Billy Bob's
Texas (a site popularized by the TV show "Dallas") and Walt Disney
World. "Dallas" ended its run in 1992 and Disney decided to buy ABC in
1996. CBS pulled the plug in 1996 and now airs reruns of David
- New Year's Eve coverage
Two complementary broadcasts,
one on Fox, another on Fox News.
- Armed Forces Bowl - Air Force v. Houston, 12/31 noon
- Music City Bowl - Vanderbilt v. Boston College, 12/31 3:00 p.m.
- Chick-fil-A Bowl (FKA Peach Bowl) - Georgia Tech v. LSU, 12/31
- Outback Bowl - Iowa v. South Carolina, 1/1 11:00 a.m.
- America One
- Peach Drop - 12/31 11:00 p.m.
New Year's Eve celebration from Atlanta.
Simulcast of WATL's coverage; WSB-TV is also carrying events, in split
screen with ABC, locally only.
- Other Networks/Stations
- Florida Citrus Parade
Taped coverage of the Orlando parade, carried in
syndication Check local
listings. As far as I've seen, only WIVB-TV in Buffalo is showing it in
upstate New York, none of the other markets are carrying it.
- Buffalo Ball Drop/Countdown to 2009
Coverage of events from Buffalo, New York,
including First Night Buffalo, the Buffalo Ball Drop, and a
split-screen simulcast of New Year's Rockin' Eve. Airs on WKBW-TV.
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