Thousands of Americans and tourists saw the crystal ball drop at Times Square announcing the arrival of the New Year. Like the famous ball, bells are used today to announce celebrations such as weddings. They are also rung at solemn events such as funerals. Bells were used thousands of years ago. In ancient China, bells were used 4,000 years ago. Bells were used in Asia in the religions of Buddhism, Hinduism and the Japanese Shinto religion. Nola, Palanius, who was an Italian bishop, introduced bells into Christian churches to bring together worshippers. Anglican, Catholic and Lutheran places of worship still use bells to gather parishioners for Sunday services. In some houses of worship, bells are still rung by bell ringers but in other churches they are electronically chimed.
In the past, bells were also used as an alert in case of peril in order to keep people safe. They were also used as a way to send messages and as musical instruments. In Celtic lands, bells were believed to drive away fiends and make wishes come true.
In Newark, New Jersey and also in the neighboring town of Belleville, where there are many historic churches, one can hear the bells tolling on Sunday. It is a soothing sound to listen to and a break from the hustle-bustle of city life. Seeing a belltower in the distance, among other buildings in a city or town, is a breathtaking site.