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Local News
Rachel Czeisler

Tuesday, December 28, 2021, was the annual “Good Riddance Day.” The 15th annual Good Riddance Day took place in Times Square, Manhattan. It is a day where people can say farewell to all things they loathe about 2021. This day offers people the opportunity to write down their biggest mistakes, regrets, and failures of 2021, and set them on fire. Literally. 

Jonathan Bennett, co-host of the Times Square New Year's Eve celebration, was in charge of the event, which included an outside burn cage and paper for people to write down their terrible memories before their papers were thrown into the incinerator. This machine will burn the paper at a high temperature until it is reduced to ash. That being the case, contributors can have a fresh start in 2022 and leave all negative memories of 2021 in the ash pile of the incinerator. 

Many participants in this event took a turn at the microphone, one by one. They said their farewell to the worst parts of the past year, a main one being the COVID-19 pandemic. As quoted from the article by Hugh Mainzer, a CDC epidemiologist said, "I want to get rid of COVID and all the things that come with it…We've been dealing with it since January of 2020, Hopefully, in 2022, we will be free of this disease." The annual Good Riddance Day unquestionably brings people together to bond and brings people hope for a better year, and in this case, a year without COVID. 

Regardless of the struggles brought about by the pandemic, or all other negative aspects of 2021, everyone who spoke at the Good Riddance Day expressed hope for a better experience in the year ahead. Celeste, a participant in this event from Manhattan, says, "I have to say this because I have a lot of love… So just with that, I'm going to take it one day at a time, and we'll see what 2022 brings." The event took a therapeutic approach of letting go of the difficulties of the previous chaotic 12 months to begin 2022 with a clear slate. This event helped to bring people relaxation and peace of mind when going into the new year. 

People from all over the world were invited to participate in this event, even virtually. People shared their Good Riddance Day memories in advance in order to participate virtually in this event. During the official celebration, the entries are printed and burned. Good Riddance Day is based on a Latin American ritual in which New Year's participants stuff dolls with materials that symbolize bad memories and then burn them. 

Tuesday, December 28, was the day to say good riddance to all we want to forget about 2021, and after this past year, there were a lot of things to say good riddance to.


  1. “15th annual 'Good Riddance Day' says goodbye to 2021 in Times Square.” ABC7 New York, 28 December 2021, Accessed 3 January 2022.

  2. “15th annual 'Good Riddance Day' says goodbye to 2021 in Times Square.” ABC7 New York, 28 December 2021, Accessed 3 January 2022.

Ross, Michelle. “Times Square bonfire: Saying 'Good Riddance' to 2021.” PIX11, 28 December 2021, Accessed 3 January 2022.

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