Bells ring at Washington National Cathedral in harmonious start of the new year

The bells at the Washington National Cathedral rang for hours on Wednesday, marking the start of the new year.

The special ringing, called a “full peal,” only occurs on special days or ceremonies. In a full peal, all 10 bells at the cathedral are rung in a special sequence. A full peal using all 10 bells lasts about four hours. Members of the Washington Ringing Society practice extensively in order to carry out the bell-ringing properly.

Alan and Krista Veit, of Leesburg, Virginia, came to hear the bells and find inspiration in their sound.

“I felt like I just needed a little bit of comfort, given what’s going on in the world,” said Krista Veit. The bells gave her warmth, taking her back to a simpler time when she attended church weekly.

Her husband, Alan Veit, said hearing the bells gave him “a great feeling. It’s a new year and new decade.”

Among the hundreds of others listening to the bells shortly after they started ringing was Andrea Pollan. She said the bells “are very hopeful. I don’t know, it brings tears to my eyes.”

Though she had grown up listening to full peals, Pollan said that “for some reason, it had a special significance today.”

The 10 bells of the National Cathedral were installed in 1963 and were made by the same caster of the bells at Big Ben in London and the Liberty Bell.

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