The 15th annual Good Riddance Day event was held in Times Square, as it is every December 28, offering people the opportunity to write down their most embarrassing moments, greatest failures, and biggest regrets from the year — so they can be thrown into an incinerator.
As a result, participants can start fresh in 2022.
Jonathan Bennett, co-host of the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration, led the event that featured an outdoor burn cage and paper made available for the public to record their bad memories on site before Bennett dropped them into the incinerator.
For Julia from England, she wants to bid adieu to anger.
“Everyone hates each other, and it’s brought out the worst in people,” she said.
Celeste from Manhattan says it would be intolerance.
“If I had to get rid of anything, it would just be the hate,” she said.
One by one, they stepped to the microphone and said goodbye to the worst of this past year. Although most people wanted to rid the world of the same thing.
“I want to get rid of COVID and all the things that comes with it,” one tourist said.
Hugh Mainzer is an epidemiologist at the CDC who is on vacation in New York.
“We’ve been dealing with it since January of 2020,” he said. “Hopefully, in 2022, we will be free of this disease.”
Despite the pandemic — and anything else they didn’t like about 2021 — everyone we spoke with had hope for better things in 2022.
“I have to say this because I have a lot of love,” Celeste said. “So just with that, I’m going to take it one day at a time, and we’ll see what 2022 brings.”
This year, people from around the world were also encouraged to participate virtually by sharing their Good Riddance Day memories in advance.
Submissions were then printed and burned during the official celebration.
Good Riddance Day is inspired by a Latin American tradition in which New Year’s revelers stuffed dolls with objects representing bad memories before setting them on fire.