Here's how Royal City residents celebrated a new year in the past

As we look through the history of the Royal City, we can safely say that year by year, from this community’s 1859 start right up to the present day, local citizens have marked the new year that the past year certainly seems to have gone by quickly.

Even though the many events, celebrations, and festivities have changed somewhat over the decades, there is a similarity to be found in how people have said goodbye to one year and welcomed the next. In thinking about the various things that have taken place in New Westminster as part of New Year’s Eve gatherings, we have noted a number of popular ways to toast the event.

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Drinking a toast to the new year has always been popular. Saluting friends and family with wishes for health, happiness and good fortune are a part of most parties and dinners. The celebrations can be simple and quite private, or large, elaborate, and open to the entire community.

Some years, being outside at midnight, probably with a large bonfire, was a favourite thing to take part in and to enjoy.

Sometimes the New Year’s evening celebrations included music in some form. There might have been a concert followed by food, drinks, and sometimes dancing. Maybe the music was with a choir and it occurred at midnight to bring in a new year with harmony and excitement. Also it was frequently possible to find a band out on the streets filling the town with songs and friendship.

There were church services in the early evening or at midnight with sermons, prayers, and lectures filled with best wishes, replete with encouragement for a good life dedicated to other citizens, and service to the community.

Happy New Year everyone. This was an interesting year – wonder what 2019 will bring?

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© New West Record
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