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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year
by Barbara Betts
Hello All

Christmas has come and gone. I hope you all enjoyed all the blessings and joy the holiday brought. In just a few days the year 2014 will come to an end and we will usher in a New Year, 2015 With the New Year comes new hopes and new dreams. But I am always a bit sad to see the old year end. It seems it’s a time to look back and remember those that may no longer be with us or promises made that were broken or dreams that didn’t come true. Perhaps that is why I love the old song Auld Lang Syne. The song brings to mind forgotten friends and days gone by.

The song is an old Scottish song. It was first published as a poem by Robert Burns in 1796. He heard a Scotsman singing the words one night and decided to make it into a song. So after making a few changes and putting it to music it became the song we listen to today.

It was Guy Lombardo who first made the song popular. He and his band played it for the first time on New Year’s Eve at the Roosevelt Hotel in 1929. After that it was played every New Year’s Eve at the Waldorf Astoria from 1930-1976.

Who would have guessed back in 1796 that a song written back then would become a tradition to be sung across the land to welcome in the New Year?

I did a bit of research on traditions from other countries. This is something that has always intrigued me.

Many New Year customs that we take for granted actually date from ancient times. This year, ring out the old and ring in the new with a New Year tradition—or two!

Make Some Noise

  • In ancient Thailand, guns were fired to frighten off demons.
  • In China, firecrackers routed the forces of darkness.
  • In the early American colonies, the sounds of pistol shots rang through the air.
  • Today, Italians let their church bells peal, the Swiss beat drums, and the North Americans sound sirens and party horns to bid the old year farewell.
    Eat Lucky Food
    Many New Year's traditions surround food. Here are a few:

  • In the southern US, black-eyed peas and pork foretell good fortune.
  • Eating any ring-shaped treat (such as a donut) symbolize "coming full circle" and leads to good fortune. In Dutch homes, fritters called olie bollen are served.
  • The Irish enjoy pastries called bannocks.
  • The tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight comes from Spain.
  • In India and Pakistan, rice promises prosperity.
  • Apples dipped in honey are a Rosh Hashanah tradition.
  • In Swiss homes, dollops of whipped cream, symbolizing the richness of the year to come, are dropped on the floors (and allowed to remain there!)
    Drink a Beverage
    Although the pop of a champagne cork signals the arrival of the New Year around the world, some countries have their own traditions.

  • Wassail, the Gaelic term for "good health" is served in some parts of England.
  • Spiced "hot pot" is the Scottish version of Wassail. It's customary to drink a glass or two at home before sharing with neighbors.
  • In Holland, toasts are made with hot, spiced wine.
    Give a Gift
    New Year's Day was once the time to swap presents.

  • Gifts of gilded nuts or coins marked the start of the new year in Rome.
  • Eggs, the symbol of fertility, were exchanged by the Persians.
  • Early Egyptians traded earthenware flasks.
  • In Scotland, coal, shortbread and silverware are exchanged for good luck.
    Put Your Best Foot Forward
    In Scotland, the custom of first-footing is an important part of the celebration of Hogmanay, or New Year's Eve Day.This practice holds that the first foot to cross a threshold after midnight will predict the next year's fortune. Although the tradition varies, those deemed especially fortunate as "first footers" are new brides, new mothers, those who are tall and dark (and handsome?) or anyone born on January 1. 
    Turn Over a New Leaf
    The dawn of a new year is an opportune time to take stock of your life. 

  • Jews who observe Rosh Hashanah make time for personal introspection and prayer, as well as visiting graves.
  • Christian churches hold "watch-night" services, a custom that began in 1770 at Old St. Georges Methodist Church in Philadelphia.
  • The practice of making New Year's resolutions, said to have begun with the Babylonians as early as 2600 B.C., is another way to reflect on the past and plan ahead.
    New Year's Folklore
    Some customs and beliefs are simply passed down through the ages. Here are some of our favorite age-old sayings and proverbs.
    On New Year's Eve, kiss the person you hope to keep kissing.
    If New Year's Eve night wind blow south, It betokeneth warmth and growth.
    For abundance in the new year, fill your pockets and cupboards today.
    If the old year goes out like a lion, the new year will come in like a lamb.
    Begin the new year square with every man. (i.e., pay your debts!) –Robert B. Thomas, founder of The Old Farmer's Almanac
    So, whether we resolve to return borrowed farm equipment (as did the Babylonians) or drop a few pounds, we're tapping into an ancient and powerful longing for a fresh start!  


  1. Happy New Year's Barb! I'm going to stay home tonight--probably drink some wine in front of a roaring fire--it's cold as blue blazes here and the weather is supposed to turn ugly later on, so we'll be staying home safe and sound. Here's to a wonderful 2015 for you and yours, and for our PRP family!

  2. Its bitter cold here too, so I have no desire to leave my comfy warm home. I put a pot of chili on and friends are coming over to play cards. That's about as exciting as my New Years Eve is going to get. Cheers, I'll lift a cup to 2015. 2014 had its ups and downs but I am so happy to be part of the PRP family. I am really looking forward to a prosperous and productive 2015.

  3. Love it
    I do like the firecrackers but hopefully no one will pull out their gun. In Texas...lots of guns, but we rarely actually see one unless we own one. And then, it stays under the bed.
    For the first time in about 40 years, I forgot to buy black-eyed peas for New Year's. I told my husband "We must have black-eyed peas tomorrow! I must go to the grocery store!" Since we've been there this morning and bought much more than usual, he said, no, we don't need anything else. Well, I think I will drive into town in the morning and get those peas.
    The store, though, won't open until 10:00 am which I think is wonderful.
    I will get those peas.
    I loved your reminds us that the New Year is truly special.

  4. Thank you Celia. I've never had black eyed peas. My New Years thing to do is pretty silly. I go out usually with a houseful of kids (but not this year) and bang pots and pans (to chase off evil spirits). then we throw pennies out the front door.The saying is if you throw money out it will come back to you. (no one is allowed to pick up the pennies.). I imagine there is quite a bit of money out there after 25 years. And lastly, we grab a broom and sweep all the bad vibes out the front door. Now mind you, some of these a real traditions, some I made up to entertain the kids. I might have a bit of trouble getting my hubby to do any of this since this is the first time we are empty nesters. Happy New Year Celia.

  5. Well, I love your new year's traditions. Those are the best, something you made up. I find that very comforting and fun to throw those pennies out. One tradition in some places here in Texas is to drop you pants and drawers or whatever you have on, and 'MOON' the neighborhood. And then sit down in the cold grass. Uh-uh. I could never get into that tradition.
    Happy New Year.

  6. LOL, makes you wonder who made up that tradition. In this neck of the woods it might be a bit dangerous to drop your drawers. It is 14 degrees out as I write this. Might be a bit chilly on the hinny.

  7. If I am awake I'll go outside and watch the fireworks they shoot off Pikes Peak. Otherwise a quiet evening watching the cats chase each other, reading or watching movies.

    Tomorrow, I'll do the black eyed pea soup and cornbread. (Left over from my ex).

    Enjoyed the traditions from regions, but not sure I could leave whipped cream on the floor though.

    Wishing everyone peace with what happened in 2014 and realized dreams in 2015. Doris

    1. Watching fireworks being shot off Pikes Peak sounds wonderful. Its funny how customs change from state to state. I'm going to have to try some black eyed pea soup. Wishing you a productive and prosperous 2015.

  8. Barb, So sorry to just be chiming in so close to the New Year. Loved reading the different customs. I'm like you, I always hate to see the end of an old year, but I like the challenges and promises of the new.

    This year, I gave myself New Year's Eve and New Year's Day off. I have been reading and just enjoying a warm house and my homemade pepperoni/jalapeno pizza. :)

    Hope you have a blessed New Year!

  9. Thanks for stopping by Kirsten. My blog came up late this afternoon so no worries. Sounds like you found the perfect way to spend the holiday. Home made pepperoni and jalapeno sounds yummy. Have a slice for me. Happy New Year!

  10. The new year is like the first day of school after summer vacation. No matter what I did or didn't do the previous year, here is my chance to do things right. I also feel a renewed enthusiasm about my life and what I want to accomplish. My family celebrates New Year's day by having certain traditional foods (a combination of Pennsylvania Dutch and Southern tradition).
    I enjoyed reading your blog. There were so many interesting cultural traditions regarding the New Year in it. I do like to light a remembrance candle on New Year's day.
    All the best to you, Barb.

  11. I am so happy you enjoyed my blog Sarah. It is a time for renewed hope. I love the idea of lighting a remembrance candle and will implement that into my New Years traditions. May we all enjoy good health, love , and laughter in the year to come.