Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bringing In the New Year

People around the world finish each year with some sort of celebration.  For many it's a get together at someones home, or if you're in America, it could be joining thousands of others in some sort of public celebration.  And, that got me to thinking....what do people in other places of the world do to celebrate New Years Eve?  I did some research and found some pretty strange customs....well, strange to me since I grew up in the USA.....and thought I'd share with you.

 ~~There's a city in Chili, called Talca.  In mass, the people participate in a religious mass on New Years Eve and then they all go visit the graveyard.  They all pull up their chairs and wait for the year to arrive with the dead.  Gives new meaning to the word "dead beat" huh?
 ~~How about wearing brightly colored underpants?  You'll find many of the residents of Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia and other South American states welcome the New Year by doing just that. If you're looking for good fortune you should  wear red, yellow or other brightly colored under-wear past midnight. It's also believed to help one find a loving mate. Red means an amorous love life ahead and yellow expresses the desire to gain money and wealth. The wishes of the locals are expressed via their underpants.  Which begs to question....does that mean they wear nothing but their underwear on New Year's Eve?  Fortunately for me, I'm not superstitious because if I was, I'd have neither good fortune or the possibility of finding a loving mate in the New Year since I wouldn't be caught dead in any color of underwear outside my house!

~~My heritage is predominately Scottish, and here's a tradition I never knew about.  It's called the Hogmanay Festival and takes place on December 31st of every year (in the city of Edinburgh it actually takes place over 4-days!).  While holding blazing balls of fire & swinging them over their heads, the men parade through the streets of their town.  This practice is supposed to bring purification and sunshine.....just wondering how many end up with no hair by the end of the parade.  This tradition dates back all the way to the Vikings.....could that be an explanation for why there are  no more Vikings?

 ~~Okay....jogging over to the Philippines.....they wear polka dots and eat round food on New Years Eve. Their belief is that by wearing polka dots, and dining of food that is round in shape they will have prosperity.  You're wondering how the heck does a polka dot relate to wealth?  Polka dots are round, and so are coins.....and if you have a lot of coins you will be wealthy.  Okay--it's a stretch, but I didn't invent these beliefs!

 ~~In Ireland, the single women there have an interesting way of garnering a mate for the future.....they sleep with mistletoe under their pillows.  Far be it from me to tell another woman how to catch a man, but I just can't see this being really effective.  Plus, isn't mistletoe really a fungus?  My head is starting to itch while I type this stuff.........

~~Time honored American tradition--the midnight kiss.  There's such an anticipation about this particular kiss for so many, I can't help but wonder if it's as good as they dreamed it would be or what?  The superstition that goes along with the kiss, is the it brings true love.  I'm wondering how many drunken people have kissed each other at midnight on New Years and don't remember it the next day?  It's also rumored to wash away the bad memories and issues from the past, marking new beginnings.........but the anticipation more than the reality?  Just a thought. 

Regardless of how you celebrate, or don't, the new year does bring the anticipation of a new start, along with new challenges.
I'm particularly fond of this quote:
Every man should be born again on the first day of January.  
Start with a fresh page.  
Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, 
or let down one, according to circumstances; 
but on the first of January let every man gird 
himself once more, with his face to the front, 
and take no interest in the things that 
were and are past.  
~Henry Ward Beecher


I'm off to put on some red underwear, with a polka dot bra, to eat my Oreos while sitting next to a large candle and praying the mistletoe pinned to my clothes doesn't catch on fire....