TIMES SQUARE, New York City -- If ever there was a year for which to say "good riddance," it's 2020. And Monday was the day to do it, with the 14th annual Good Riddance Day in Times Square.
Every year on December 28, Good Riddance Day offers the opportunity to destroy any unpleasant, embarrassing, and unwanted memories from the past year.
"Good Riddance Day is a time to let go of bad memories or hardships from 2020 and leave them in the past before we head into the New Year," said Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance. "After the year we've had, we encourage people to join us in this therapeutic event by participating online or on social media, as we finally say goodbye to 2020 and begin the New Year with hope."
This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, small socially distanced crowds gathered in person and virtually from around the world.
"I just want to get rid of COVID-19," said Willie, from the Bronx. "Bye, COVID-19."
Submissions using the hashtag #GoodRiddanceDay were printed and shredded, and the event also featured a larger-than-life 2020 piñata from Planet Fitness that was pulverized -- ensuring everyone could get out their frustrations.
"I want to say good riddance to my rough three months quarantine at my uncle's house," Sedrick Jalouis said.
Select submissions were read live during the event by Jonathan Bennett, host of the Times Square New Year's Eve celebration, and one by one, volunteers shredded the difficulties of the pandemic year as they set their sights on 2021.
"Saying good riddance at the end of the year is a wonderful way to move onto the New Year with a clean slate," said Jeffrey Straus, President of Countdown Entertainment. "All are invited to shred and shed their negative memories of 2020."
Planet Fitness set out to understand what Americans want to say "good riddance" to in 2020, so The Judgement Free Zone commissioned a national study on the topic.
Not surprisingly, the results found that the majority (88%) of Americans have at least one thing from 2020 that they want to say "good riddance" to in the New Year.
Among them, nearly two in three (65%) want to say goodbye to political or election-related conversations, while 62% are eager to forget about the toilet paper crisis of 2020.
Meanwhile, two in five (41%) of parents want to say "good riddance" to remote schooling in the New Year, while younger generations -- including Generation Z (30%) and Millennials (28%) -- are more likely than older generations -- including Generation X (19%) and Baby Boomers (13%) -- to want to leave video chats behind for good.
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.