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New Year’s Traditions

Traditions.  I think its safe to say that we all love them.  Certain times of the years, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, we have traditions to hold onto and help us remember why we love those days and, sometimes, why they’re not that special.

Events in our lives shape these traditions.  I use to make a popcorn garland for my tree every year but now, with my beagle, my tree would be destroyed if I dressed my tree up in her favorite treat.

I always find traditions fascinating.  Staying up until midnight, popping the bubbly, and ringing in the New Year.  Sharing a kiss, sometimes with a stranger, the first kiss of a new year.  Some people stay up all night and greet the sunrise.

Did you know that the most commonly sung song by English-speakers on New Year’s Eve – and also the song that almost no one knows the actual lyrics to – is Auld Lang Syne by Robert Burns in 1796?

Robert says that he refined the lyrics after hearing an old man in Ayrshire, Scotland singing it.  Auld Lang Syne literally means “old long since” and means “time gone by.”  The song asked if old friends and times will be forgotten and promises to remember people of the past with fondness.  “For auld lang syne, we’ll tak a cup o’kindness yet.”

Traditions are everywhere and different all over the world.

In Britain, they celebrate with First Footing – this was someone special who would come to your house baring gifts.  People hit the streets at midnight, visiting houses.  Usually, you would be visited by a neighbor who would bring coal for the fire or shortbread.  It was considered especially lucky if the first visitor to your home on the New Year was a tall, dark, handsome man.

The Dutch actually burn Christmas trees in the street on New Year’s night.  They, its a great way to make sure you get rid of your tree for the coming year, right?

Over in Spain, to insure twelve prosperous months, they eat twelve grapes at midnight.  While in Greece, they bake Vassilopitta – or St. Basil cakes.  This is a cake with a gold coin baked inside.  Whoever gets the coin will be especially lucky that year.

New Year’s is the most important holiday in Japan as it is a symbol of renewal.  They hold Forget-the-Year parties all through December to bid farewell to the problems of the past year and prepare for a new beginning.  Grudges and misunderstandings are forgiven and major cleaning is done to the house.  It is said to be very bad luck to start the year off in a dirty house.

At midnight on New Year’s Eve, Buddhist temples strike their gongs 108 times to expel 108 types of human weakness.

On New Year’s day, no work is done.  A day of joy, children recieve small gifts with money inside.  Sending New Year’s cards is a very popular tradition in Japan.  In fact, if it is postmarked by a certain date, the post office guarantees delivery of all New Year’s cards by New Year’s Day.

Then you have the various American traditions.  Watching New York’s ball drop – we also have the Peach Drop here in Georgia.  The New Year’s Ball in Time Square actually started in 1907.  Back then, the ball was made of iron and wood.  Now its made of Waterford crystal.

I didn’t really watch the ball or Peach drop until I was much older.  Even now, its rarely on my television.  Probably because I didn’t grow up with it.

My tradition came because of my situation with my parents.  They divorced when I very young, not even two yet.  As I grew older, I would spend Christmas with my mother and New Year’s with my father.  This means that my dad and his girlfriend would be passed out drunk before ten and my little brother fell asleep watching some movie.

I’d stay up late, curled up on the couch with a soda and a book, reading until I heard the neighbors shooting off fireworks.  Looking up, I would see it was a few minutes passed midnight and everyone in the house was sleeping.

Getting up, I’d so out on the porch, freezing cold and clutching my paperback and I’d watch the fireworks the neighbors were shooting off.  This was in Alabama, too, so they were really good fireworks.

Its funny because fireworks and noise makers are in most New Year’s traditions.  It goes back to ancient times when people thought that fire and loud noises would keep evil away.

My father-in-law, in fact, rings a giant bell that hangs outside in his yard every year at midnight.

When I got older and started staying in Georgia to ring in the New Year, I did go to my share of New Year’s Eve parties.  But I find now that I am married with a home, I am content to spend New Year’s at home, curled up with a good book and drinking pink champagne as my husband plays video games.

This year’s reading choice:  Last Chance to Run by Dianna Love.

While that might seem boring or sad to some people, honestly, I love having that time to dive into a great story.  Do I feel like I missed out sometimes because everyone else was sleeping?  I used to but not so much anymore.  I had my own tradition, even if it wasn’t a common one and now its one I take comfort in.

New Year’s day we’d come home from Daddy’s and my mom would fix collards and black eyed peas and to this day, I go to my mom’s New Year’s day for just that meal.  After all, collards brings dollars and peas bring pennies for the coming year.  Its important to eat lots of them. hehe

What are your traditions?  Do you have any non-traditional traditions of your very own or are you our partying until the sun comes up?  Share with me and you could win your own, brand new copy of Last Chance to Run - the very book I ran in 2013 with just a few days ago.  A fabulous Romantic Thriller autographed by Dianna Love herself.  It’ll be personalized with the winner’s name and believe me, this is one fun and riveting read.

And I just want to take a moment to thank Dianna for her donation.  I’ve been enjoying this book and was thrilled when she agreed to give away a signed copy of it on our blog today.

Oh, and for anyone out there even a little curious about what they’re singing when the clock strikes midnight:


 Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp,
And surly I’ll be mine,
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

We  twa hae run about the braes,
And pou’d the gowans fine,
But we’ve wander’d monie a weary fit,
Sin auld lang syne.

 For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

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.

 For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

And there’s a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie’s a hand o thine,
And we’ll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.

 For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

Carol Burnside - January 10, 2013 - 2:46 am

Happy New Year, Bryonna! Hubby and I usually spend a quiet evening at home. Sometimes we’ll open bubbly. This year we had an early dinner at a nice restaurant and came back home before the rowdy crowd came out to play. I much prefer that to a loud, crazy party.

Mary Preston - January 10, 2013 - 3:50 am

I used to be one of those who would see in the new year until dawn. These days I tend to go to bed early to try to be asleep before the noise begins. How times have changed, but it’s all good.

Marilyn Baron - January 10, 2013 - 6:45 am

Wonderful post, Bryonna. I loved hearing about the new year’s traditions around the world. I just heard the one about the 12 grapes in Spain, and coincidentally, I had just eaten a bunch of grapes (don’t remember how many) that day without being aware of that tradition. This year we went back to Gainesville, Florida, where we went to college and spent New Year’s Eve with good friends we went to college with and who still live there. We had a very nice dinner and went to their house to watch the ball drop. It was fun. I can’t believe I made it to midnight.

Dianna Love - January 10, 2013 - 7:02 am

Wonderful post, Bryonna. For many years, my husband and I have shared New Year’s eve with a pair of very close friends. We would normally cook at one house or the other, but since then we’ve changed to going to Pensacola, FL for a couple days at New Years because the wife in this pair of friends is partners in a huge restaurant there. We still eat together on New Years, but someone else cooks. lol We don’t care what we do as long as the four of us can share that time.

I’m happy to give away a copy of Last Chance To Run – flattered that this was your book of choice to ring in the new year. :) Thanks for the words to that song. I have never known that entire song.

Maxine Davis - January 10, 2013 - 8:13 am

I enjoyed the post, Bryonna. I’ve been to some great New Year’s Eve parties, but I’m very happy to stay home. Usually a dinner out fairly early then home to have a drink, and to see whether my husband or me falls asleep first watching a movie. I wouldn’t trade my evenings now for anything. Seldom do I make it to Midnight.

Debbie Kaufman - January 10, 2013 - 8:37 am

We used to celebrate with a New Year’s Day open house. This was back when we were renovating an old Victorian ourselves, and our friends would come to a table full of food and wander the rooms to see what had changed. After moving into a newer house, the tradition never seemed to fit. I may have to think of another excuse for that open house. Nice thing was, all those couch potatoes/sleepyheads were up for fun the next day since they calld it an early evening the night before :)

Oh, and Bill and both just finished Dianna Love’s Last Chance to Run. If you don’t win it today, people, go buy one for yourself. You won’t be sorry!

Pam Asberry - January 10, 2013 - 9:07 am

Interesting stuff, Bryonna! I usually celebrate NYE with my youngest and my brother and his wife. This year my firstborn and his girlfriend joined us too, along with another couple I ran into at the Flashlight 5K I ran in Lawrenceville at 6:00. My new male friend came over later so I actually shared a kiss at midnight for the first time in quite a few years. It was all so much fun. Thanks for the giveaway, Dianna! :-)

Susan Carlisle - January 10, 2013 - 9:30 am

Thanks for sharing the great New Years traditions. It was a wonderful around the world trip. My husband and I ususally stay at home. We have on occasion gone to some party but not often. Mostly it is just nice to sleep.

Cheryl Hart - January 10, 2013 - 9:39 am

Bryonna, your New Years tradition sounds divine! I’m not one to go out and party, so a quiet night at home with a book in my hand sounds hard to beat. :)

One of my traditions, in recent years, is eating dinner with a dear friend of mine. We usually visit family in TN after Christmas and return on New Years Day, so the night before we leave(NY Eve) we meet with my friend (also named Cheryl) and the two Cheryl’s and my family ring in the new year with a delicious meal, great company, and a toast.

Loved learning about the diverse traditions. Perhaps I’ll take on the 12 grapes at midnight one–seeing as my mother was a Spaniard. :)

Happy New Year y’all!

Anna Doll - January 10, 2013 - 11:22 am

Did NOT know all the words! Love the song by Dan Fogelberg and it is the title of an anthology I published with The Wild Rose Press!

Sia Huff - January 10, 2013 - 12:58 pm

Traditions are wonderful, Bryonna.
Being Greek, I bake a Vassilopita each New Year, although only a quarter goes into the cake, not a gold coin. And traditionally, I cook a full Greek meal New Years Day, which we always spend together as a family.
Wishing you and your new hubby create many wonderful traditions together. After all, they need to start sometime.

Bryonna Nobles - January 10, 2013 - 6:45 pm

I love all the fabulous traditions you all shared. I laughed through each of your posts. I have a feeling when we start a family, New Year’s will be wilder but with both of us working retail, its just not practical at this time. We’re usually recovering from Christmas. lol

I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who spends New Year’s at home or quietly. Makes me feel better. ;)

Thank you for sharing all those traditions. I hope I hear more. Tomorrow, I’ll announce the winner of Dianna Love’s fabulous book. People have until then to comment and get in on the drawing!

Hildie McQueen - January 10, 2013 - 9:00 pm

The hubs and I usually stay home with our little dogs who are terrified of fireworks. I actually enjoy watching tv or having friends over for games and mimosas!

Linsey Lanier - January 11, 2013 - 4:36 pm

Fascinating post, Bryonna. I’ve always wanted to know what Auld Lang Syne meant. Thanks for explaining it. But I’m all for bidding farewell to the problems of the past year. Here’s to a rockin’ 2013 for all the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales and all our readers!

Bryonna Nobles - January 12, 2013 - 8:06 am

I am SO sorry that I forgot to post this yesterday! It was a crazy day!

The Winner of an autographed copy of Dianna Love’s “Last Chance to Run” is Anna Doll! Please just get me your snail mail information and I’ll get it over to Dianna. :)

Sandy Elzie - January 12, 2013 - 5:07 pm

Hi Bryonna,
Great post….and I’m currently reading Last Chance to Run! I read it years ago when it was called Worth Every Risk, but this new version…the extended version is much better…deeper and…well, just better.

Thanks so much for sharing with us about your New Year…we sat up together & watched the ball in N.Y. as well as the inset of the Peach…dropping. Happy New Year!

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