Biggest Early American NYE Partiers: The Dutch
How did the Washingtons ring in the new year? Celebrating January 1 was more of a Dutch than British tradition, so the Washingtons’ New Year’s festivities were likely at their peak during the period of George Washington’s presidency when the first family lived in New York City, which had been settled by the Dutch.
In 1790 Mrs. Adams, who was the wife of Vice President John Adams, wrote that “the New Years day in this state, particularly in this city [New York City] is celebrated with every mark of pleasure and satisfaction. The shops and publick [sic] offices are shut. There is not any market upon this day, but every person laying aside Buisness [sic] devote[s] the day to the social purpose of visiting receiving visits. The churches are open divine service performed begining [sic] the year in a very proper manner by giving Thanks to the great Governour [sic] of the universe for past mercies, imploring his future Benidictions [sic]. There is a kind of cake in fashion upon this day call’d New Years Cooky. This Cherry bounce as it is calld [sic] is the old Dutch Custom of treating their Friends upon the return of every New Year.”
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