Many folks have their own New Year's Eve traditions, and our family is no exception. For many years, we rang in the New Year with friends at the beach, but then a hurricane came along and wiped out all of the beach houses, so there went that tradition.
New traditions take time -- that's, uh, sorta wrapped up in the whole idea of "tradition." But we more or less have a new one.
Not really being late night people, we ring in the New Year with a place in an earlier time zone. (Okay, that's cheating a bit, but we get to go to bed earlier that way.)
This year, we rang in the New Year with Gander, Newfoundland.
Now, one of the interesting things about ringing in the New Year with Gander is that the town is located in Newfoundland Standard Time, which keeps time by subtracting 3 1/2 hours from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). This is a special time zone used in Canada, and really only on the island of Newfoundland, its offshore islands, and southeastern Labrador communities south of Black Tickle.
This special situation arose because Newfoundland was a separate country when the time zones were created and because it lies exactly 3 1/2 hours from Greenwich. Greenwich is home to the Royal Observatory, which at one time provided the astronomical observations that served as the basis for Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). GMT is often now referred to as UTC. Thus bringing us back to the significance of Newfoundland being 3 1/2 hours from Greenwich.
And, that is a long way to say that we really rang in the New Year at 9:30 p.m. local time.
Here's wishing you a Healthy, Happy, and Prosperous New Year -- no matter what time zone you're in.