"Despite hundreds of years of pathetic parties, ridiculous resolutions and hellacious hangovers, we still cling to the notion that it is possible to have fun going out on New Year's Eve. It isn't. There is too much pressure, too many people and too few bathrooms."
-- Anderson Cooper
However you may feel about New Year's Eve, it has been celebrated in one form or another for 4,000 years, making it, quite probably, the oldest holiday in the world. The earliest recorded party took place in Mesopotamia around 2,000 B.C. in mid March at the time of the vernal equinox and featured copious quantities of barley ale, grilled goat and roasted locusts.
The first time the New Year was celebrated on Jan. 1 was in Rome in 153 B.C. The Romans, whose reputation for great parties is legendary, consumed ostrich ragout, fattened dormice and the pièce de resistance, a wild sow with its belly full of live thrushes, washed down with golden goblets of honeyed wine.