New Year's Traditions


By Ama Larsen, Faculty Member, Online Bachelor of Social Work Program, Spring Arbor University

It’s a new year with more possibilities and inspirations. I brought in my new year celebrating with friends from church and family. We ate, laughed, and painted on small canvases our hopes for the new year. Initially, I started painting a happy face but was unable to finish as a result of a takeover by my three-year-old daughter.


A Closer Look at Traditions

There are different ways individuals from various cultures celebrate a fresh start to the year. In the United States, many go to church to pray, invite the guidance of God into their lives, and find fellowship with one another. Others have private parties, and some gather at Times Square in New York to watch the ball drop.

The ball drop tradition began in 1907, as the New York Times headquarters was originally in the One Times Square building and the second tallest building in New York City. The first ball drop event was created to draw attention, celebrate the headquarters of the New York Times, as well as the newly developed Times Square area-known then as Longacre Square. This new years tradition has since continued and people from all over the world attend the ball drop to ring in the new year.

In Eastern Europe in Greece, residents hang onions on doors of their home as a sign of health, fertility, and long life. The onion for the Greeks capsulized these important elements due to the need for the onion to sprout roots when isolated and unused. Hanging onions outside of the door was to remind household members to experience personal growth in the new year.


Old Ways, New Paths

Social work is a humbling career that focuses on elevating others. As many are inspired to walk a new path during this time of year, social workers remain pivotal in helping individuals, families, and communities make lasting changes.

Spring Arbor University’s online BSW program helps students develop the essential skillset needed to make a meaningful connection to others and help them change the course of their lives. If you are looking for a way to kickstart the new year and are passionate about helping others, consider becoming a social worker.

In light of new years traditions, let’s take time to celebrate and elevate others, as well as ourselves. The Greek tradition of hanging onions outside of doors to usher in the new year reminds us to grow new roots, meet new people, and have higher expectations for ourselves with tangible goals to achieve them.

From our caring community at Spring Arbor to yours— I pray this year is filled with many blessings of love, peace, and strength.


Balldrop. (n.d.). Time Square ball drop. History of the ball drop in Times Square. Retrieved from
Greek Boston. (n.d.). The Greek new year’s tradition of hanging onions on doors. Retrieved from