Saturday, December 30, 2006

new year's

Sorry for my lack of posts
I've been busy doing nothing on my vacation

this was in the newspaper this morning...

New Year’s Eve: Why do we do this weird stuff?

thought I would share...

• Times Square: At 11:59 p.m. they drop the big crystal ball amidst revelry by a million or more people jammed into the square for hours, with lots of drinking and no apparent place to
go to the bathroom. Did you ever wonder about that?

• South Africa: In the Johannesburg suburb of Hillbrow, it’s customary to throw refrigerators, beds and trash bins out of tall buildings. And to set off fireworks horizontally, aimed at the windows of neighboring buildings.

• Scotland: In a tradition called “fireball swinging,” locals fashion big balls out of chicken wire, tar, paper and other flammable materials, set them afire and walk through pedestrian-jammed streets swinging them on ropes. ANDY? do you partake in this activity?

• Atlanta: They drop a peach. Wimps.

• America: We sing “Auld Lang Syne,” an arcane poem by Scotsman Robert Burns. Sure, you can handle the first verse. Now have three glasses of bubbly and try singing the third:

“We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,”

“Frae morning sun till dine,”

“But seas between us braid hae roar’d,”

“Sin auld lang syne.”

• In the Philippines, children jump up and down at midnight to make sure they will grow tall. Hours later, sensors warn of tsunami waves around the Pacific Rim.

• The World: Anyone born Jan. 1 is dubbed a “New Year Baby.” Among the more famous: Pope Alexander VI, Barry Goldwater, Betsy Ross, J. Edgar Hoover, Xavier Cugat, Joe MacDonald of Country Joe and the Fish and Kala Sosefina Mileniume Kauvaka.

• Tonga: What, you don’t know Kala? She was the first child born in the new millennium. (To be fair, the deck was stacked since Tonga’s so close to the International Dateline.)

• Spain: They eat 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight. Those Spaniards know how to party, don’t they?

• In Turkey, a traditional New Year’s Day feast food is turkey. This is not a pun in the Turkish language. If you see a Turk, try to explain it to him. (If he gets the joke, shake his hand and say, “Ataturk.”)

• Greece: They make St. Basil’s Cake, hiding a gold coin inside. Whoever finds the coin has good luck in the coming year. Or breaks a tooth and sues.

• The American South: We eat “Hoppin’ John” — black-eyed peas and ham hocks — for luck. If we were even luckier, we’d have caviar and champagne.

• The World: From Coney Island to Russia, thousands of portly, nearly naked, probably intoxicated men cut holes in the ice and jump into the frigid water. Of all the things the whole world could unite on ...

• Iran: At Norouz, the Zoroastrian New Year, which actually falls on March 21 in ’07, it’s customary to serve pastry with “Ajileh Moshkel Gosha,” which translates as “problem-solving nuts.” (Fill in your own punch line here. See if you can relate it to the nuclear standoff.)

• France: New Year’s Eve is celebrated with a feast called “Le Reveillon de Saint-Sylvestre,” with champagne and foie gras, and a fancy ball called “une soiree dansante.” Face it. We’ll never be as cool as the French.

• Ecuador: They see out the “Ano Viejo” by using wood, newspapers and rags to make human figures — often of disliked politicians — stuffing them with fireworks and setting them aflame. We call that an election campaign.

• China: Tradition has it that a scary, man-eating beast, Nyan, used to skulk down from the mountains, infiltrate houses and do its worst to the inhabitants. Then they discovered the monster was sensitive to noise. Which explains the firecrackers, banging drums and such that make San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Parade audible from space. (The next lunar new year, ushering in the Year of the Boar, falls on Feb. 18.)

• Cambodia: In “Chab Kon Kleng,” a traditional New Year game, one player, the hen, tries to protect his chicks while another player, the crow, tries to catch them. In America, the game is called “lobbyists and special prosecutors.”

• Japan: Tradition is to pay off all debts and go into the new year with a clean slate. This is how you can tell they’re not Americans.

• Ireland: In a tradition called “First Footing,” if the first person to set foot in your door in the new year is a dark-haired man, you’re in for good luck. But watch out if it’s someone whose eyebrows meet above his or her nose. This would seem to be good advice year-round.

• In Scotland, they have “First Footing,” too, but there, bad luck will follow if your first visitor is female, stingy, flat-footed, barefooted, a minister, doctor, gravedigger or thief or carrying a knife. Probably best to stay inside and watch curling on the telly.

• Korea: Tradition on “Seolnal,” the lunar new year, is to eat sliced rice cakes in soup; unexciting, but more appealing than the spring holiday of “Hansik,” when the menu calls for cold mugwort dumplings.


Anonymous said...

cold mugwort dumplings... I'm pretty sure that is what kills Harry Potter in the last book.

Oops... now I spoiled it.

Sans Pantaloons said...

The fireball swinging is peculiar to the town of Stonehaven in Kincardineshire I believe.
I do not swing fireballs unfortunately. Some pictures here I hope.

I do occasionally first-foot dependent on the weather. We have storms forecast so I'll probably go to bed with an eighteen year old.

Sexy Lexi said...

I a sucker for weird facts. I'm just glad I wasn't the only one wondering where all those people pee in Times Square.

Happy New Year!

Sexy Lexi said...

Shitballs! I meant, "I'm such a dumbass..."

Anonymous said...

Have a fabulous New Year, you crazy woman!

what, no refreshments?

DutchBitch said...

Phew... glad you didn't find out about the ultra secret Dutch New Years traditions...

Bob said...

That's some crazy shit. I've always felt that new year's is a totally bogus holiday.

JoeBlogs said...

happy new year!

Lynda said...

A few years ago, Dick Clark mentioned the number of port-a-pots they had in Times Square for the ball drop.

It was a lot of human waste.