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New Year’s Eve Rituals

January 1st, 2009

I loved reading in the N.Y. Times today about how various cultures ring in the new year.

In Colombia, if you have an urge to travel in the new year (yes ma’am, I do), you walk around the house with a suitcase at midnight on the 31st.

In Denmark, if you have a particular wish for the new year, you make it while jumping off a chair. (If you’ve had too much aquavit or whatever it is Danes drink this could get ugly.)

In Venezuela, you buy and wear new yellow underwear on New Year’s Eve for good luck in the upcoming year.

Perhaps my favorite ritual is in Japan, where there’s an Abusive Language Festival: you climb a hill to an ancient temple screaming profanities at whoever it is who has caused you trouble in the old year. (When you get to the temple you chill and get happy.)
I think if I had to pick someone to curse at it would be U.S.Air for that nasty episode in a D.C. airport in November.

Not to be greedy, but wouldn’t one greatly increase one’s chances of overall happiness in 2009 by combining these rituals? I was thinking I could put on yellow underpants and jump off a chair while holding a suitcase and cursing U.S.Air. The trouble is, of course, my family would commit me to a mental hospital so I’d be unable to reap the benefits of my actions.

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8 Responses to “New Year’s Eve Rituals”

  1. tiftif Says:

    January 1st, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Interesting. In some French regions there is a nice tradition : eating a grape at each stroke of midnight for good luck in the upcoming year.
    Personnally, I don’t really like the New Year’s Day. Physically, what happens that day ? Earth is at the same place that 365.25 earlier and this is a sufficient reason for everyone to party. In my opinion, it’s a standardization of societies and I don’t like that. In anyways, I don’t like normality. And sometimes, that makes me a bit antisocial XD
    As for me, when the clock struck the twelve chimes, I was alone in my mother’s flat, eating a pizza, watching for the 1000th time Phantom of the Paradise (would you know that film by chance ? :D). Incidentally, at this moment, it was the scene of the audition, “Special to me”, so you understand that I couldn’t pay attention to New Year’s fireworks even I’ve already heard this song so many time that I know it by heart :D
    Something is sure about 2009 : that year I’ll become an adult (in France we come of age at 18), even if I’m not convinced it’ll be a radical change to me.

    What else ? I don’t suggest you to see my blog, seeing that it’s overall in French (unless you speak my native language ?), but if you want to reply to me, you can leave a comment (click on “Ajouter un commentaire”), it would be a really great honor to have a comment from Jessica Harper.

    Finally, just one thing :

    YOU’RE AWESOME !

    Kisses from France.

  2. Douglas Waltz Says:

    See, now I have this image of you doing that stuck in my head and it makes me laugh. Thanks for the laugh!

  3. Chris Says:

    OK, I have to ask…what happened at USAir in D.C.?

  4. Suzanne! Says:

    I believe that ‘one-grape-at-each-stroke-of-the-clock’ thing is also tradition in Espana (that’s spanish for Spain). A lovely way to serve it is in a tall, deep champagne flute, filled with your fave bubbly, within which rests a long skewer of 12 grapes. Pretty on a silver tray, si?
    As for the donning underwear, jumping off furniture and cursing thing, been there, done that.

  5. tiftif Says:

    In fact, it’s probably a tradition from Spain because it’s especially a custom in South of France and I just know it by my uncle who lived in Valencia ;)

    Kisses from France.

    tiftif.

  6. Marky Mark Says:

    ***** GREETINGS FROM ENGLAND!!! AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL *****

    Okay, so in the UK we don’t really have any traditions apart from going out, getting drunk and singing Auld Lang Syne while holding our crossed hands……

    However, I’m loving the Abusive Language Festival :) Although I seem to do that on a regular basis walking home from work lol

    In Scotland though (the birthplace of “Auld Lang Syne”) is also the home of Hogmanay (hog-mah-NAY), the rousing Scottish New Year’s celebration (the origins of the name are obscure). One of the traditions is “first-footing.” Shortly after midnight on New Year’s eve, neighbors pay visits to each other and impart New Year’s wishes. Traditionally, First foots used to bring along a gift of coal for the fire, or shortbread. It is considered especially lucky if a tall, dark, and handsome man is the first to enter your house after the new year is rung in. The Edinburgh Hogmanay celebration is the largest in the country, and consists of an all-night street party

    Lots of Love

    Mark

  7. Dagmar Says:

    We jump off chairs in Germany as well! Greetings to you all from New York, Dagmar

  8. Dagmar Says:

    We jump off chairs in Germany as well! Jessica, I enjoy your blog, I just started my own about first-time mommyhood and juggling a freelance career! Greetings to you all from snowy New York, Love Dagmar

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