It's almost New Year's Eve and four other couples and Ed and I plan to go to the fireworks on the beach at 7:30 followed by dinner at a nice restaurant at 9:00, then back to the house for dessert at our house and a Yankee Swap, something to keep us up until the champagne toast at midnight. On any given night here in Naples, we usually have seen a movie, had cocktails at happy hour and dinner at a restaurant, and still gotten home in time for Jeopardy. So, it will be a long night for us, but I am confident if I have a nap, I can stay up to welcome in the New Year.
New Year's Eve always seemed to mean a lot to my parents. Besides the parties, my mother would talk about how it was important that peas be eaten on New Year's for good luck. Yet I don't remember her actually serving peas on that day in particular. In fact, usually we had left overs or Dad would get pizza, since that day was pretty low key after the previous night's revelry. I didn't like peas, still don't.
The clinking of glasses after a toast actually originated back when people were paranoid about being poisoned. Pouring a little of your drink into mine, and viceversa, to prove that your drink was safe was replaced with the symbolic clink.
Auld Lang Syne is a Scottish air we adopted here in the states when Canadian Guy Lombardo and his band played it each year. Believe it or not, it's only been a tradition here since 1929. The song was written 225 years ago in Scotland. When the Scots sing it, they form a circle and everybody crosses their arms and holds the hands of the people next to them. At the end of the song, everyone rushes into the center while still holding hands, then, they all back up again and everyone turns under the arms to end up facing outwards with hands still joined.
In Wales, at the first stroke of midnight, they rush to the back door and open it, then close it again, letting all the old year's "bad stuff" leave. Then at the last stroke of the clock, they rush up and open the front door, welcoming in the New Year and all it's good luck.
In Denmark, everyone stands up on a chair just before midnight with a drink in one hand and a piece of cake and a coin in the other. Those items assure that they will have drink, food and money in the new year. They jump off the chairs at midnight. I am glad I won't have people standing on my furniture. I don't think I'd like that at all.
I like the way the Japanese celebrate their New Year's. They clean their houses to clean out the old and welcome the new. They end grudges and forgive misunderstandings. At Buddhist temples they strike the gong 108 times to get rid of the 108 types of human weaknesses. Only 108? Whaaat?
In China, they apply a fresh coat of red paint to their front doors and put all their knives away for 24 hours lest anyone cuts themselves, thus cutting the family's good luck for the New Year.
New Year's resolutions were started by the Babylonians. Farmers would start their lives over each year by returning borrowed tools and paying their debts. I don't think they ever vowed to lose weight, in ancient Babylon, though.
But one of the most touching New Year's Eve traditions I know of was something my Dad used to do. Every year, after kissing his wife and twirling the noisemakers, he'd stop everything for a minute to call his mother. If the party wasn't at our house, we would be staying over night at Gram's. Sometimes I'd hear the conversation from his side, and sometimes from hers. I don't know if the tradition began after my grandfather died or if it was something from his childhood. I must remember to ask him.
|Gram and Dad hamming it up in the 30s.|
I wonder if my sons will be reading this blog?
Have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year, everyone!