This year might be the year we’ll have to forgo the New Year’s kiss traditions – for obvious reasons. But just why do we lock lips on the stroke of midnight anyway? Like with most holiday traditions, there are many threads connecting the theories of its origins. English and German folklore agrees that kissing the first person you meet in the new year will likely set the tone for the rest of the months to come.
A Scottish celebration known as Hogmanay may also lay claim to starting the New Year’s kiss tradition. Hogmanay is a holiday in which “starting off on the right foot” in the new year is the theme. People visit houses, giving gifts, feasting and drinking, and having a right, old merry time. Once the bells toll midnight on December the 31st, things get serious. What you do first in the new year will determine your luck throughout it. Great significance rests with the first person to cross the threshold of your house in the new year. And, the first person you kiss. Scots continue the festivities into the wee hours of the morning, with at least one rousing rendition of Robert Burns’s Auld Lang Syne.
A kiss on New Year’s Eve is a tradition we’ve seen practiced in movies and TV for ages. One of the most notable film kisses can be seen in the romantic classic When Harry Met Sally. Teen dramas have followed in the footsteps of this popular romance trope to delight us with some particularly earth-shattering midnight smooches.
The O.C. – The Countdown
The prize for the best New Year’s Eve kiss to grace our television screen has to be awarded to Ryan and Marissa’s from The O.C. Even though in the beginning of the episode Ryan blows it big time by responding to Marissa’s “I love you” with a cringy “thank you”. But he makes it up to her by showing up to the New Year’s party. Just like Harry rushes to tell Sally he loves her before midnight, Ryan tears across town to find Marissa before the clock strikes that fateful hour. Fortunately for all of us, Ryan gets there in the nick of time. And he and Marissa – in literal slow-motion anticipation – share a dazzling kiss.
Awkward – Resolutions
The second season of Awkward began with a spectacular New Year’s kiss. Jenna rushes into Jake’s arms as the confetti falls. It’s a crying shame the two of them didn’t end up together (sorry Jetty shippers). But we’ll always have this golden memory of Jake and Jenna to look back on.
Gossip Girl – The End of the Affair
We see Serena and Dan share a sweet New Year’s kiss during the most complex storylines of the entire series. With everything a bit messy on GG (but really, when is it not?), the kiss is a moment that reflects back on the earlier days when the Serena-Dan romance was flourishing. It’s also a significant moment as Dan finds himself falling for Blair while Serena is desperately hoping to rekindle her flame with Dan. The emotion of this simple New Year’s kiss hit home in this holiday episode.
Boy Meets World – Train of Fools
Cory and Eric are flying high in this New Year’s episode. Both are anticipating a kiss by the end of the evening’s festivities. As luck would have it, Cory, Eric, Shawn, and Topanga are all marooned on a train car when the subway breaks down. Eric is distraught as he misses out on his date for the evening. Corey consoles his brother, encouraging him to see the good in their sorry situation and start the new year off right. In the end, Eric shares a kiss with a very pretty caterer (who just so happens to be the one and only Cordelia from Buffy the Vampire Slayer!).