New York is very careful to observe the holidays, of the year. The mixture of the old Dutch, the orthodox English, and the Puritan elements has tended to preserve, in all its purity, each of the festivals which were so dear to our fathers. The New Yorker celebrates his Thanksgiving with all the fervor of a New Englander, and at the same time keeps his Christmas feast as heartily as his forefathers did, while the New Year is honored by a special observance.

                     NEW YEAR'S DAY.

New Year's day is one of the institutions of New York. Its observance was instituted by the Dutch, who made it a point never to enter upon the new season with any but the most cheerful spirits. They made it a time for renewing old friendships, and for wishing each other well. Each family was then sure to be at home, and social mirth and enjoyment ruled the hour. Old feuds were forgotten, family breaches were healed, and no one thought of harboring any but kindly feelings for his relatives or friends. The jolly old Knickerbocker sat in the warm light of his huge hearth, and smoked his long pipe in happiness and peace, while his children and children's children made merry round about him.

Subsequent generations have continued to observe the custom, and to-day it is as vigorous and fresh as it was when New Amsterdam was in its primitive glory.

                     GETTING READY.

For weeks before the New Year dawns, nearly every house in the city is in a state of confusion. The whole establishment is thoroughly overhauled and cleaned, and neither mistress nor maid have any rest from their labors. The men folks are nuisances at such times, and gradually keep themselves out of the way, lest they should interfere with the cleaning. Persons who contemplate refurnishing their houses, generally wait until near the close of the year before doing so, in order that everything may be new on the great day. Those who cannot refurnish, endeavor to make their establishments look as fresh and new as possible. A general baking, brewing, stewing, broiling, and frying is begun, and the pantries are loaded with good things to eat and to drink.

All the family must have new outfits for the occasion, and tailors and modistes find this a profitable season. To be seen in a dress that has ever been worn before, is considered the height of vulgarity.

The table is set in magnificent style. Elegant china and glassware, and splendid plate, adorn it. It is loaded down with dainties of every description. Wines, lemonades, coffee, brandy, whiskey and punch, are in abundance. Punch is seen in all its glory on this day, and each householder strives to have the best of this article. There are regular punch-makers in the city, who reap a harvest at this time. Their services are engaged long beforehand, and they are kept busy all the morning going from house to house, to make this beverage which is nowhere so palatable as in this city.

Hairdressers, or "artistes in hair," as they call themselves, are also in demand at New Year, for each lady then wishes to have her coiffure as magnificent as possible. This is a day of hard work to theseartistes, and in order to meet all their engagements, they begin their rounds at midnight. They are punctual to the moment, and from that time until noon on New Year's day are busily engaged. Of course those whose heads are dressed at such unseasonable hours cannot think of lying down to sleep, as their "head gear" would be ruined by such a procedure. They are compelled to rest sitting bolt upright, or with their heads resting on a table or the back of a chair.

Sometimes a family desiring to "shine" on such occasions find themselves unable, after meeting the other expenses, to provide the clothing and jewels necessary. These are then hired from modistes and jewelers, proper security being given for their return.

                     NEW YEAR'S CALLS.

All New York is stirring by eight o'clock. By nine, the streets are filled with gayly dressed persons on their way to make their annual calls. Private carriages, hacks and other vehicles soon appear, filled with persons bent upon similar expeditions. Business is entirely suspended in the city, the day is a legal holiday, and is faithfully observed by all classes. Hack hire is enormous - forty or fifty dollars being the price of a carriage for the day. The cars are crowded, and, if the weather is fine, everybody is in the highest spirits. A stranger is struck with the fact that the crowd in the streets consists almost entirely of men. Women rarely venture out on this day. It is not considered respectable, and, the truth is, it is not safe to do so.

The earliest hour at which a call can be paid, is ten o'clock. The ultra fashionables do not begin to "receive" until twelve. At the proper time, the lady of the house, attended by her daughters, if she has any, takes her stand in the drawing room by the hospitable board. In a little while, the door bell rings, and the first visitor is introduced. He salutes his hostess, and after a few pleasant words, is invited to partake of the refreshments. A few eatables are swallowed in haste - the visitor talking away all the while with his mouth full - a glass of wine or of punch is "gulped" down, and the gentleman bows himself out. He has no time to lose, for he has dozens of similar calls to make. This goes on until late at night.

A gentleman in starting out, provides himself with a written list of the calls he intends making, and "checks" each one off with his pencil, when made. This list is necessary, as few sober men can remember all their friends on such occasions, and after the first dozen visits are over, such a list is greatly needed. Each man tries to make as many calls as possible, so that he may boast of the feat afterwards. At the outset, of course, everything is conducted with the utmost propriety, but, as the day wears on, the generous liquors they have imbibed begin to "tell" upon the callers, and many eccentricities, to use no harsher term, are the result. Towards the close of the day, everything is in confusion - the door bell is never silent. Crowds of young men in various stages of intoxication rush into the lighted parlors, leer at the hostess in the vain effort to offer their respects, call for liquor, drink it, and stagger out, to repeat the scene at some other house. Frequently, they are unable to recognize the residences of their friends, and stagger into the wrong house. Some fall early in the day, and are put to bed by their friends; others sink down helpless at the feet of their hostess, and are sent home; and a few manage to get through the day. Strange as it may seem, it is no disgrace to get drunk on New Year's day. These indiscretions are expected at such times; and it not unfrequently happens that the ladies, themselves, succumb to the seductive influences of "punch" towards the close of the evening, and are put to bed by the servants. Those who do retire sober, are thoroughly worn out.

                     THE NEXT DAY.

The next day one half of New York is sick. Doctors are in demand. Headaches and various other ailments caused by "punch" are frequent. Business men have a weary, sleepless look, and it requires one or two nights' rest to restore mind and body to their proper condition. Should you call on a lady friend, you will probably find her indisposed - the cause of her sickness you can easily imagine. The Police Courts are busy on the Second of January. Disorder, drunkenness, and fighting are frequent on New Year's night.

                     INDEPENDENCE DAY.

The Fourth of July is simply a nuisance in New York. The weather is generally very warm. There is an early parade of the First Division of the National Guard, and at night there are fine displays of fireworks in various parts of the city. The greater part of the day, however, is devoted to drinking and acts of lawlessness. Fire-crackers, Roman candles, pin-wheels, and the like, abound. The police try to stop them, but without success. The city resounds with the discharges, the air is filled with sulphurous vapors, which irritate the throat and eyes, and the ears are stunned with the explosions. Young America is in his glory, and quiet, orderly people are driven nearly frantic.

                     EVACUATION DAY.

On the 25th of November, 1783, the British troops evacuated the City of New York, and embarked on board their ships, and the American army, under the personal command of General Washington, occupied the city and its defences. This was a proud day for the city, and the whole country, and the people of New York have always commemorated it by a grand military display. It is honored by a parade of the First Division, and the troops are reviewed upon this occasion by the Governor of the State. The parade is the finest to be seen in America, twelve or thirteen thousand men, with cavalry and artillery, being under arms at the time.

                     THANKSGIVING DAY.

This is a "home festival," and the observance of it was introduced by the New England element of the population. It is commemorated by morning service in all the churches. The rest of the day is given to rest and social enjoyment, and a bountiful dinner, for which all the members of a family assemble at some particular house, affords the occasion for many a friendly and domestic reunion. In the evening the theatres and places of amusement offer additional attractions to pleasure-seekers.

                     CHRISTMAS DAY.

When the bell of old Trinity ceases to strike the hour of midnight, on the 24th of December, there is a brief pause, and then the full, rich chimes of the old church strike up a joyous peal. The sweet tones echo and re-echo through the dark and silent streets, bidding the great city rejoice, for the merry Christmas time has come.

For weeks before the holiday you will see a brighter, smarter look about the markets and the shops. The toy shops, especially, do a brisk trade, as well as those in which articles intended for presents are sold. Residents of the city are busy laying in dainties for the season, and purchasing gifts for their children, relatives and friends.

On Christmas day the festivities are much the same as those in other places. They are hearty and merry here, as elsewhere, and the season is one of happiness. The poor are not forgotten. Those who give nothing at other times, will subscribe for dinners or clothing for the unfortunate at Christmas. The various charitable institutions are kept busy receiving and delivering the presents sent them. Their inmates are provided with plentiful, substantial dinners, and have abundant means of sharing in the happiness which seems to pervade the whole city.