My informant, from Kansas City, Missouri, describes a New Years family tradition: “My family does this thing every New Years Eve after midnight (so after the ball drop) where we sit around and play music videos for each other until people get tired and leave.”
“It’s kinda weird but I think it started with the fact that TV is a big deal in our family and that televised New Years specials already have people performing during them so it’s like a logical progression. Beyond that, I also think it comes from my parents’ love for MTV airing music videos which they sometimes did after midnight on New Years which me and my siblings grew to love and eventually evolved into a moment of sharing our music tastes and cool videos in a fun family moment. I should also mention that my dad used to be in a band and is very big on music so he pushed this tradition a lot.”
This family tradition represents how traditions can change with the rise of the digital age. The ritual of watching the ball drop in New York on New Year’s Eve is accessible to anyone because it is televised, but this family takes the ritual a step further by transitioning the event into a period of sharing with each other pieces of art and culture from the cyberspace that they have come to enjoy. The informant’s parent’s connection to MTV is indicative of their generation, and this has since evolved to reflect the online culture of the informant’s generation. This ritual represents a connection across generations through music and virtual media.