Just to clarify, back in olden times, each new day began at sunset. So New Year’s Eve, which we know as Dec. 31, was actually the beginning of Jan. 1 back then – New Year’s Day. In merry, traditional Boston, we continue that custom by celebrating the new year starting as the sun sets on First Night.
By Rick Winterson
Mayor Marty Walsh and the city of Boston’s officials are to be congratulated on their “rescuing” of First Night this New Year of Our Lord, 2016. First Night’s 40-year-old tradition was in jeopardy due to financial problems, among other things. In his remarks from the Copley Square stage just before the procession to Boston Common, he singled out Dusty Rhodes for special thanks. Ms. Rhodes is the creator and president of Conventures, Inc., located in South Boston’s Design Center; she is a hard-working activist/supporter of innumerable Boston causes as well.
South Boston Online basically covered the early First Night activities. Spectacular entertainment, ranging from jugglers to street musicians to light shows beguiled the festive crowds in Copley Square. Nearby Berklee sent a jazz trio – Esther Rogas (bass guitar), Anibal Cruz (keyboard), and Paul Sanchez (flugelhorn) – to the Huntington Arcade in the Prudential Center, who were outstanding. You should have heard their cool-jazz riff on “Little Drummer Boy.”
The Copley Square main stage hosted non-stop music across the ice sculptures on the green space between Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library. Then, at 6 p.m., the procession to the Boston Common began. Everyone took part – stepping off alongside stilt-walkers, Chinese displays, giant puppets, fife-and-drummers, and costumes of all kinds. Young kids of every age – toddlers, bimps, and on up – marched right along with everyone else. And the crowds were happy and peaceful.
First Night’s early evening ended with fireworks on the Common at 7 p.m., which were especially striking when viewed over the lit-up trees and greenery around the Common. This writer went home early, so he’d be up in time for the next morning’s Polar Plunge in South Boston, but the festivities continued unabated until midnight had come and gone.