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"Why, my New Year's Eve kiss is the most important one of the whole year. It sets the tone for the next 365 days. One year, I didn't get kissed at midnight on New Year's Eve, I didn't get lucky till after the Orange Bowl."
Blanche, The Golden Girls
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It's the New Year! Once the clock strikes twelve, everybody's going to celebrate, and some people want to celebrate by sharing a kiss with someone special, often accompanied by fireworks. In many Western works, locking lips at midnight isn't just a possibility, but a necessary tradition, and characters will spend their entire New Year's Eve preparing for that romantic moment.

Some sources date the New Year's kiss back to the Festival of Saturnalia in ancient Rome, where Romans honoring the god Saturn would throw parties during late December full of debauchery - including kisses. The kiss as a tradition, however, dates back to English and German masquerade balls thrown to celebrate the new year, where removing your mask for a kiss symbolized purity. It's often said that the New Year's kiss secures good tidings for a relationship in the coming year, and failing to secure this kiss may bring bad luck. While some works use this to provide stakes for an established relationship, it's just as common for characters to frantically grab the nearest person during the last few seconds of the countdown, just so they can have a kiss period. This can be a good setup for a Meet Cute or a Ship Tease. Of course, there's no guarantee the closest person for a New Year's kiss won't be your Abhorrent Admirer or somebody just as unpleasant.

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Compare Under the Mistletoe, another holiday kiss tradition.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Strips 
  • Garfield: In this strip, Jon and Liz kiss during a New Year's Eve party just as midnight is announced. Greta asks Garfield if he'd like a New Year's kiss too, but he declines.
  • Safe Havens:
    • Samantha and Dave attempt this not long after finally becoming the Official Couple...except it gets awkward when they accidentally kiss Thomas and Remora respectively instead cause they missed. They decide to try again...and kiss their dogs instead.
    • Years later, they kiss at midnight and continue kissing well into the morning. Not even Dave turning on a basketball game stopped them.
  • Zits:
    • One year, Jeremy and Sara have a sweet kiss in front of Jeremy's parents...and then as soon as the parent are out of sight they have a more passionate one.
    • Another year, Jeremy is offended when Sara said his New Year's kiss was 'better than usual'.
    • Yet another year, Sara is stressing out over how much she needs to get the New Year's Kiss perfect and wonders if Jeremy is as stressed out as she is. All Jeremy is thinking is 'yum, girl spit!'.

    Fan Works 
  • Both main couples in Advice and Trust end up kissing at midnight on New Year's Eve, with it even being Rei and Kaworu's first unambiguously romantic kiss (Rei claimed that their Under the Mistletoe moment on Christmas was meant to be platonic).
    Shinji: So at midnight, we kiss?
    Asuka: The tradition is you do at the stroke of midnight what you want to be doing all through the New Year. So, you and I will be lip-locked.
  • New Year's Dance by Thelastpilot end with Adrien and Marinette a second away from having their kiss during a New Year's gala.
  • Happy New Year by Jillian Jacobs ends with the Weasleys' reaction to Harry and Ginny having a New Year's Kiss as their first kiss.
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    Film - Live Action 
  • 200 Cigarettes: Kevin and Lucy, best friends with clear sexual tension between them, share a steamy kiss in the bathroom during the wild New Year's party.
  • A Lot Like Love: Oliver and Emily, who keep bumping into each other after meeting on a plane, finally share a kiss during a New Year's Eve party near the end of the movie.
  • In Better Luck Tomorrow, Ben has a crush on Stephanie for most of the movie, but she's dating Steve. At the end of the film, after Steve mysteriously disappears (actually, Ben et al. killed him for unrelated reasons), Ben and Stephanie meet at a New Years party and share a kiss at midnight on New Years Eve. This would seemingly advance their relationship, but due to Ben's sadness and the circumstances surrounding Steve the relationship doesn't get developed much.
  • The Five-Year Engagement: Tom proposes to Violet on New Year's Eve. She says yes, and they kiss while fireworks go off in the background.
  • Forrest Gump: When the ball drops on New Year's 1972, Lieutenant Dan's two prostitutes both kiss Forrest.
  • High School Musical: Subverted at the New Year's party where Troy and Gabriella meet. After their karaoke performance and conversation builds up some chemistry between them, the final countdown to the new year begins. Once the countdown ends, they watch the fireworks together and stare at each other intensely, suggesting they may want to kiss, but they just exchange phone numbers and part ways.
  • New Year's Eve:
    • Ingrid and Paul kiss during the New Year celebration after completing all their resolutions.
    • When she sneaks off to Times Square to celebrate New Year's Eve despite her mother's wishes, Hailey sees her boyfriend Seth kissing another girl, upsetting her. In reality, Seth was being kissed against his will. Later, Seth explains what happened, and he and Hailey share a real New Year's kiss in secret.
  • Now You See Me 2 combines this trope with Smooch of Victory. Lula kisses Jack over the Tower Bridge at midnight after the Horsemen just defeated Mabry and Tressler.
  • In Ocean's 11 (1960) to facilitate their robbery of Las Vegas casinos the gang cuts the lights at midnight New Tear's Eve. A couple kiss in the dark, then the man lights a match and says "Ooops, wrong girl." The woman responds by blowing out the match and returning to the embrace.
  • Sex and the City: Stanford and Anthony, who had bad blood in the original series after Anthony snubbed Stanford as a date, end up at a New Year's party together. When the countdown ends and they notice each other, they each take a swig of champagne before kissing. They get married in the sequel film, implying that this kiss rekindled their romance.
  • When Harry Met Sally...: Near the end of the movie, Harry tries to reconnect with Sally one more time, fighting with her while everybody else at the party counts down to the New Year. They end up falling back in love and kissing while everybody around them sings "Auld Lang Syne."

    Literature 
  • Hive Mind (2016): The very last line of Borderline is a New Year's Kiss between Amber and Lucas.

    Live Action Television 
  • Awkward. In "Auld Lang Party," the broken-up Jenna and Matty make a pact to defy this trope by promising that they won't hook up with anybody at the New Year's party, trying to start the year with a clean slate. However, due to a misunderstanding where Jenna thinks Matt's off with an "older woman" (he's really spending the night with his mom), she breaks the pact by making out with a piano player named Owen.
  • Dash & Lily ends with the leads kissing as New Year's fireworks start going off over the New York City skyline.
  • Friends:
    • In "The One With The Monkey", the gang make a pact to bring no dates to their New Year's Eve party after losing faith in the idea of this trope. Although most of them do bring dates, they all end badly with neither of them having anyone to kiss at midnight. Chandler desperately yells out for someone to kiss him, and then finally Joey kisses him.
    • In "The One With All The Resolutions", Chandler and Monica want to share the New Year's kiss, but are still hiding their relationship. Joey convinces Ross and Phoebe to kiss and gets Rachel to agree to kiss him so that they can all be kissing one of their friends, allowing Chandler and Monica to get away with it.
    • "The One With The Routine" plays with the concept by having Joey, Ross, Monica, and Janine (Joey's roommate who he has a crush on) all participating in advance filming for New Year's Rockin' Eve. Joey wants to kiss Janine but keeps running into roadblocks- the producer decides to have her dance with someone else, who is also hoping to kiss her. Then, as they prepare to kiss at the very end...the filming stops, leading to a Big "NO!" from Joey. Once they get back to the apartment Janine finishes the countdown and kisses Joey.
  • Full House: Played with in the season 4 episode "Happy New Year's". Rusty, the son of Danny's girlfriend Cindy, threatens to kiss Stephanie when the New Year hits, and keeps taunting her about it throughout the episode. Stephanie gets back at him when she bites an onion right as the New Year comes and forcibly kisses Rusty.
  • Get Smart: Combined with Kiss of Death and Drugged Lipstick in the episode, "Kiss of Death": KAOS agent Tracy Dunhill plans to murder Smart with poisoned lipstick at the stroke of midnight, at a New Year's Eve party. Smart sees another guest drop dead after kissing her, and thwarts her scheme with "plastic lips."
  • Girl Meets World: Played With in "Girl Meets the New Year". Riley's big conflict is her Love Triangle with Lucas and Charlie. She debates during the episode who she wants to be with when the countdown ends, believing who she's with will be who she's with for the rest of the year. Though her issues are romantic in nature, kisses are never mentioned, and the concern is who everyone will be next to at the time- Farkle openly announces he'll be with Smackle, and nobody else is able to answer who they'll be with. This superstition mirrors the traditional superstition of the New Year's kiss.
  • The Golden Girls: One flashback in the clip show "Dateline: Miami" has Blanche surprise Rose with a double date so Blanche can get a New Year's kiss. However, both of the dates turn out to be a bust, leaving Blanche and Rose alone. As they watch the countdown on television, Blanche leans in towards Rose, who tells her, "Don't even think about it."
  • How I Met Your Mother: In the New Year's Eve episode, "The Limo", Ted steps out of the limo when midnight strikes as he feels lonely when all of his friends are with their dates. To his surprise, Robin follows him, saying that she didn't forget their deal to kiss each other at midnight, and at the end of the episode, they kiss.
  • A tradition on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, where up until his death in 2012, Clark would kiss his wife at the strike of midnight.
  • The O.C.: In the season one episode "The Countdown," after Ryan's awkward response to Marissa telling him she loves him, Marissa goes to a New Year's party alone. During the countdown to 2004, Ryan rushes through the crowd to find her, and they share a kiss as soon as the new year begins.
  • The X-Files: The episode "Millennium," taking place during the Turn of the Millennium, has Mulder and Scully share their first kiss as the clock strikes midnight.
  • Years and Years Ralph proposes to Daniel at midnight on New Year's Eve, and many years later, Jonjo proposes to Ruth at midnight on New Year's Eve, meaning that they kiss.

    Music 
  • Music/NSYNC: "Kiss Me at Midnight"
  • Bing Crosby: "Let's Start the New Year Right"

    Webcomics 
  • In The Order of the Stick, the Order experiences New Year's in Azure City. As the clock approaches midnight, Haley contemplates using this time to kiss Elan and finally show him her feelings for him, but she chickens out and he kisses a random woman instead. Roy and Celia share a New Year's kiss in the sky, while a very drunk Belkar kisses V., who is not happy about this at all.

    Western Animation 
  • Doug: In the episode "Doug's Midnight Kiss," Doug plans to kiss Patti at midnight during Beebee's New Year's Eve party to fulfill his New Year's Resolution of showing Patti how he feels. Roger's plan, on the other hand, is to break a new record for how many girls he can kiss at midnight.
  • Happy New Year, Charlie Brown: Shortly after the clock strikes midnight, Marcie gives Charlie Brown a kiss on the cheek.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In the episode "Happy New Year!" Isabella mentions the tradition of kissing somebody at midnight to Phineas, who responds "I know what we're doing tonight." Much to her disappointment, he's talking about building a giant ball to drop from outer space. Later, during the New Year's party, Lawrence and Linda kiss in the courtyard during the final countdown, preventing them from seeing Phineas and Ferb's contraption. Candace admonishes them for this, but at the end of the episode, she shares a kiss with Jeremy.
  • Regular Show: The episode "New Year's Kiss" has Rigby learn from his future self that Mordecai kissing a girl at a New Year's masquerade party will lead to a catastrophic chain of events, and it's up to the present Rigby to stop it. Mordecai ends up getting friendly with somebody named Tracy, and it's soon revealed that she plans to kiss Mordecai just to make her boyfriend jealous. At midnight, Rigby tackles who he thinks is Mordecai kissing Tracy, but it turns out to just be Tracy's boyfriend, as they'd made up. Mordecai does end up kissing somebody at midnight: his ex-girlfriend CJ, who runs off as soon as they realize who they kissed.

    Real Life 
 
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Candace and Jeremy

Candace and Jeremy share a kiss at midnight on New Year's Eve.

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