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.