Many people make resolutions at the start of the New Year. Some people, however, avoid them at all costs; after all, they say, “Ill just break them any way.” Just visit a local health club and you’ll see a significant increase in memberships, as promises are made to lose weight or to lead healthier lifestyles.
Making these resolutions, whether we intend to keep them or not, has become a ritual in our society. It has become part of our culture. And as Carol Bainbridge points out, although the official start of the New Year may differ among cultures, the intent is the same: a fresh start, a new beginning, a chance to press the reset button. Here, thanks to Carol, is how some cultures ring in the New Year.
- Germany Small pieces of lead are melted in a spoon over a lit candle. The melted lead is dropped into cold water. It hardens into shapes, which predict the future. A heart or ring shape, for example, means a wedding.
A gold or silver coin is baked into a cake. The person who has the piece of cake with the coin inside will be lucky for the rest of the year.
Before the holiday, houses must be cleaned, inside and out. At midnight on New Year’s Eve, a monk at a local shrine strikes a gong to signify the forgiving of the past year’s mistakes.
To purge the old year and welcome in the new one, the Dutch make bonfires in the street out of their Christmas trees.
People visit neighbors just after midnight to wish them well for the new year. It is considered good luck if the first person to step foot into your house is a tall, dark and handsome man!
Eating twelve grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve will bring twelve months of happiness.
Happy New year, no matter how you celebrate it. And good luck with those resolutions.