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   Whether the New Year's Eve party is in a luxurious hotel ballroom or in modest home, it will be gay, noisy and glittery. The music will be loud and carefree, and there will be bright colors , festive foods, and high good spirits to make this last night of the year one of fun and frivolity. At celebrations in restaurants, clubs and shipboard salons, guests are given silly paper hats and noisemakers (n. 狂欢时时用以发出噪音的器物) and as the evening goes on no one remains a stranger. At midnight everyone joins hands and signs, "We'll take a cup of kindness yet, for Auld Lang Syne." (来源:英语学习门户 http://www.EnglishCN.com)

   Preparation for the party includes planning what one will wear. If it is a formal affair, men will wear tuxedos and the ladies will put on their most elegant gowns. And even small parties mean "dressing up." But if it is a masked ball(n.假面舞会), "dressing up" takes another form. The guests vie (vi.竞争) for the most original, exotic, dignity and appealing costume. Hidden behind a mask or domino. Dignity and care are cast aside, and not until unmasking at midnight must the party-goers discard the illusion of their changed personalities.

   Not everyone goes to a party, but almost everyone makes an occasion of New Year's Eve. A favorite place to see the old year out is New York City 's Times Square. Thousands of New Yorkers and tourists crowd this famous spot (at the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue) and crane their necks to watch for "Happy New Year" to flash across the electronically controlled sign tract that circles the Allied Chemical Tower. When the moment arrives bedlam(n.喧闹声) breaks forth. Bells ring, whistles blow, people cheer with unrestrained exuberance(n.充溢).

   This chaotic scene is repeated in public squares throughout the country, but not at the same moment. Because of the four time zones in the United States the New Year comes to the central States one hour later, to the Mountain States two hours later, and finally to the Western States three hours after the Eastern States have noisily said good bye to another year. So by following the radio and television broadcasts everyone can enjoy the festivities in other parts of the country as well as their own.

   Then with the arrival of the new year, thoughts turn to the future-a future viewed optimistically and hopefully. Greeting cards and spoken messages convey wishes for health, wealth and long life. A new year allows a fresh start and New Year's resolutions abound.

    Grown-ups and children alike enthusiastically vow(v.发誓) to get rid of their bad habits and resolve to lead better lives. Children are apt(a.易于的) to write down their resolutions with solemn ceremony:

   "I resolve to stop teasing my sister."
   "I resolve to save part of my allowance"
  "I resolve to hang up my clothes before I go to bed."
   To show their seriousness they sign their names and deliver the paper to a parent for safe-keeping. Adults make equally ambitious resolutions:
   "I resolve to stop smoking."

   "I resolve to lose weight."

   "I resolve to learn a new language."

   Despite the sincerity of the resolutions, no one seems surprised that the determination to "turn over a new leaf" disappears before the new year is well started.

   Although New Year's traditions in the United States stem from as many cultures as do the people themselves, they have gradually assumed a typical American flavor. The giving of gifts, for instance, an important part of Roman and Old English tradition, has all but disappeared. Instead, New Year's cards are exchanged among friends and relatives, and commercial firms combine greeting with advertisement of their products by distributing calendars and small trinkets. There are, of course, notable survivals still followed in their original form. Two of the most cherished came from Scotland: toasting from the wassail bowl and the ever-popular song, "Auld Lang Syne."

 
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