I know I will try to stay up till midnight, same as my husband. Though it is getting harder and harder to do so each year. We won't be going out anywhere to celebrate--just stay home. But as reported on the news and early Show, we won't be alone as many people will be staying home to bring in the new year this year. The economy seems to have done that. But that's all right. What better way to ring 2009 in, but with your family, in a relaxed atmosphere and in the comfort of your own living room? You can drink alcohol and not worry about driving home or designating someone as the designated driver--right? I plan on making some comfort food for us and we are going to watch some rented DVDs and then the ball drop on Times Square. I have some wine left over that I won at a Christmas party earlier in December and a bottle of sparkling white grape juice I bought since my husband's on call for his job and can't drink. We'll toast in the New Year, comfortable and relaxed. Unless hubby gets called out on a job.
And now for some background on New Year's celebration. The symbols are an old man as the old year and a baby as the new year. The tradition of using the baby began in Greece, around 600 B.C. At that time, the Greeks celebrated parading a baby in a basket in honor of their god of wine, Dionysus. The baby represented the annual rebirth of the god as the spirit of fertility. Early Egyptians also used the baby as a symbol of rebirth.
Now, though the early Christians denounced this practice as pagan, the popularity of this tradition made the church to reevalute its position on the matter. They allowed their members to celebrate the New Year with the baby, symbolizing the birth of Jesus Christ.
The image of the baby as symbol of New year was brought to America by the germans. They had used the effigy since the 14th century.
Luck in the New Year
People believed that what they ate or did on the first day of the new year would affect the luck for the rest of the year. parties would last past midnight and people would celebrate the first few minutes of the brand new year in company of family and friends.
Once upon a time, it was thought that the first visitor on New Year's day brought either good or bad luck for the rest of the year. That's why, you would want a tall, dark-haired man to be the first person to step through your doorway, for he brought very good luck.
Certain foods also bring good luck. Like any thing inn the shape of a ring is considered good luck. The Dutch believe eating donuts on the New Year's day brings good fortune. Many Americans eat black-eyed peas, because they symbolize good luck. These are accompanied by ham or hog jowls. The hog, and its meat, is the symbol of prosperity. Cabbage is another food to consumed on New year's day. Cabbage leaves are considered a sign of prosperity, representing paper currency. And in some regions, rice is a lucky food that is eaten on New Year's Day, too.
Auld Lang Syne
Meaning "old long ago," or more familiarly, "the good old days," Auld Lang Syne is always sung in most English-speaking countries at the stroke of midnight. Partially written by Robert Burns in the 1700s, it was first published in 1796 after his death. There had been earlier variations of the song prior to 1700. These inspired him to write the modern redition.
So tonight at midnight, if you managed to stay awake, and either sing "Auld Lang Syne" or kiss someone, think of the centuries that others have celebrated it before you.