Well here we are at the end of 2016, it is New Year’s Eve here, anyone wondering what I will be doing to see in the New Year. I will be sleeping, my days of staying up to see in the New Year are long gone, now I just go to bed at my usual time and wake up to a New Year. Boring I know but what the hell I am pretty boring most of the time.
Now depending on what site you visit you will either be told that New Year’s Eve celebrations are a relative new thing or been around for yongs. As in for the last four millennia, others say it is has been around since 2000 BC which is four millennia isn’t it, I think it is.
Anyway the earliest recording of a new year celebrations is believed to have been in Mesopotamia around 2000BC and was celebrated around the time of the Vernal Equinox which is in mid March. There are a variety of other dates tied to the seasons which were also used by different ancient cultures, the Egyptians and Persians new year was with the fall equinox and the Greeks celebrated it with the winter solstice.
The early Roman calendar had March as the first month of the year and the calendar had just ten months. In order to realign the Roman calendar with the sun, Julius Caesar had to add 90 extra days to the year 46BC, when he introduced his new Julian calendar. The Julian calendar closely resembles the Gregorian calendar that most countries now use.
It was also Caesar that created 1st January as the first day of the year, partly to honour the month’s namesake, Janus, the Roman God of beginnings whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward to the future.
The Romans would celebrate by offering sacrifices to Janus, exchanging gifts with each other and decorating their homes w ith laurel branches and attending wild parties.
In medieval Europe, Christian leaders replaced the 1st January as the start of the new year with more religious days such as the 25th December and the 25th March which is the feast of the Annunciation but Pope Gregory X111 re-established the 1st January as New Year’s Day in 1582.
Today of course most New Year celebrations begin on 31st December which is the last day of the Gregorian calendar and continue through to the wee hours of the 1st January (New Years Day). Celebrations include having parties, making resolutions which no one keep and watching fireworks and some people eat special food.
Speaking of enjoying special food and food thought to bestow good luck in the coming year I will now tell you a little about such foods because you really want to know, don’t you.
In Spain and some other Spanish-speaking counties people will down a dozen grapes, symbolising their hopes for the months ahead-right before midnight.
In other countries dishes containing legumes which are thought to resemble coins which will bring financial success are eaten such as lentils in Italy and black-eyed peas in the southern states of America. Then there are pigs, yes pigs in some cultures pigs represent progress and prosperity so pork is eaten in countries such as Cuba, Austria, Hungary and Portugal.
Ring-shaped cakes and pastries are a sign the year has come full circle these are found in the Netherlands, Mexico and Greece as well as other countries. Sweden and Norway enjoy rice pudding with an almond hidden inside and it is said that whoever finds the but can expect 12 months of good fortune.
Many countries and customs around the world include watching fireworks and singing “Auld Lang Syne” well in English-speaking countries we sing “Auld Lang Syne”.
Of course many make resolutions, things they want to change or do differently in the New Yea and some even follow through on those resolutions but most don’t. The practice of making resolutions for the new year is thought to date back to the Babylonians, who made promises in order to earn favour with the gods and start the year on the right foot.
Most of you will know that in the United States the most iconic New Year’s tradition is the dropping of a giant ball in New York City’s Times Square at the stroke of midnight. This even is watched by millions around the world and has taken place since 1907. Over time the ball itself has became bigger it was at first a 700 pound iron-and-wood ball it is now a 12,000 pound ball. Many other towns and cities across the States have developed their own versions of the Times Square ritual but not always dropping balls but things like pickles and possums at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Now I am sure many of you are thinking but what happens in Australia Jo-Anne, you’re and Aussie tell us about your countries New Year’s Eve celebrations. Ok so I will.
Here in Australia many people will camp out from early on the 30th to get a good spot to see the fireworks in Sydney although this year I saw on the news that some of the spots were cornered off till this morning because of terrorist. We don’t want the crazy people with bombs getting the good camping spots.
Of course in Sydney the fireworks are a big thing and many people will choose to stay home and watch them on telly instead.
Also many towns have 9 or 9.30pm fireworks so the little ones get to see them before they fall asleep, many years ago the town I lived in did fireworks at 9 and midnight and I could watch them from my back yard but not any more the cheapskates decided it cost too much and stopped them, bastards.
While researching this I read that we have a week of celebrations from the 1st to the 6th, well I can tell you that is news to me, I know no one who has a week of celebrations, just saying.
We don’t eat special foods, we do drink a lot of grog and eat a lot of chips and dips or pizza many like pizza on New Year’s Eve but hot chips are common.
I am sorry this has turned into a long ass post, I get caught up with the history and such and it ends up being long as. I have decided to split it in two and will do a bit more tomorrow, not much more but a bit more.