In fact

December 12, 2012

The New Year’s Eve tradition of lowering a time ball from the top of One Times Square, New York, began in 1907. The ball was made from iron and wood and weighed 700 pounds, compared with today’s ball, which weighs 11,875 pounds. ABC News, 30th December 2011

Ethiopians celebrated the arrival of the second millennium on 11th September 2007. The seven to eight year gap results from alternate calculations in determining the date of the Annunciation of Jesus. The Independent, 11th September 2011

Eighty-eight per cent of all New Year’s resolutions fail, according to a 2007 survey conducted by psychologist Richard Wiseman. Wall Street Journal, 26th December 2009

Every year, 12 per cent of Britons injure themselves opening a bottle of champagne. Corks can erupt at speeds of up to 60mph and there is 70 pounds per square inch of pressure behind each one. The Huffington Post, 31st December 2011

In Elmore, Ohio, locals drop a brightly-lit, 18 foot sausage from the sky to welcome in the New Year. Reuters, 28th December 2008

Until 1751, in England, Wales and British dominions the New Year started on 25th March—”Lady’s Day.” Calendar (New Style) Act, 1750

Social networking site Twitter groaned under the weight of 16,197 tweets per second at the stroke of midnight on 31st December 2011 in Japan, causing the site to crash. The Daily Mail, 1st January 2012

Sixty per cent of gym memberships begun as New Year’s resolutions go unused. Gym attendance usually reverts to normal levels by mid-February. Time, 1st January 2012

One of Germany’s most popular New Year’s Eve traditions is to watch Dinner for One, an obscure 1963 British music-hall comedy. The tradition has made it one of the most frequently repeated TV programmes of all time. BBC, 1st January 2012

Residents of Hillbrow, a suburb of Johannesburg, celebrate the New Year by throwing large appliances, including fridges, televisions and microwaves, off high-rise buildings. Global Post, 31st December 2011