Hello lovely family and friends!
Down here in the antipodes, we leapt into the new year while the rest of you were lingering in 2023. Apparently the direct opposite of NZ on the globe is Spain. Everyone there was having a mid-day siesta when we popped champagne corks and longed for bed. At midnight, I was ready to go home from a fun New Years party with friends, while Mum was still going strong. We had to coax her out to the car. Being a bonny wee Scot, my mum missed the bagpipes requisite for Hogmanay, and thought it was a bit tame to just go home without visiting and ‘first footing’ all the neighbours.
Our party host was going to plunge into the sea after midnight, which, apparently, is a bit of a Kiwi tradition. He kindly asked us if we were going to join in.
Our Mexican friend said it is traditional in her homeland to pop twelve food items (such as grapes) in your mouth in the last twelve seconds of the year, to represent the hope that you will have food each month of the year to come. A sort of new year’s version of ‘chubby bunny.’ She only told us after midnight though, so we missed our chance in 2023. That got me thinking, so I did a quick search of unusual traditions and here are my top 11 favourites
- Have a fist fight with anyone you are annoyed with, to clear the air for the next year (Peru). If you are an annoying kind of person, you might have to set up a booking sheet that people can sign up on.
- Wear coloured underwear to choose what you want for the year to come (South America). Red for love, green for change, white for peace, gold for wealth (you need to be wealthy to find gold coloured underwear) black to achieve all your goals (I’m still waiting)…
- Melt tin, pour it into a bucket of cold water, and then interpret the shape to predict what will happen in the new year (Finland). Perhaps they ask three year olds to interpret the result, since if you ask a three year old what their mysterious lump of play dough is meant to be, they will tell you “It’s a dog” or “it’s Daddy.” They know these things.
- Jump into a frozen lake carrying a tree trunk (Siberia). Ok, Kiwi swimming at midnight is not too bad in comparison, except, wait, aren’t sharks more active in the dark?
- Throw old furniture out of the window (Italy). Presumably only on the ground floor, lest you be had up for murder?
- Throw bread at the walls to get rid of evil spirits (Ireland). Are they allergic to bread, or what?
- Talk to your cow (Romania and Belgium) Why do it only at New Year?
- Throw buckets of water out of the window (Puerto Rico) or throw buckets of water on people and then smear them with talcum powder (Thailand). Presumably you can get away with that in those places, because, unlike Peru, the people you have just annoyed won’t line up and punch you.
- Drop ice cream on the floor (Switzerland). What I want to know is, who cleans it up?!
- Carry a suit case around all day to show your desire to travel (Colombia). Do you think carrying a pillow around all day would promote more sleep?
- Smash plates outside your neighbor’s front door (Denmark). Because we all want to spend the first part of New Years day cleaning our doorsteps.
Our youth were out with friends watching fireworks until after 3.00am (apparently higher cognitive reasoning only develops at about age 25). I have only stayed awake all night a couple of times in my life (since I am not a medical person, fireman or policeman). One notable time was at a New Year party at a hotel (with my older brother and sundry friends) that offered free breakfast to anyone who stayed there until 8 am. It wasn’t worth it, because by then we were too tired to appreciate the breakfast. It probably wasn’t worth it for the hotel either, since we only drank lemonade all night.
Hopefully you have all recovered from all your festivities. I know, let’s start the first day of the new year feeling wrung out and exhausted. It will make the rest of the year feel so good in comparison.
For the first time ever in my life, I have taken part in pre-Christmas and Boxing Day sales as I bought bedding and supplies for our Airbnb, but I did it online rather than scrambling in the malls. Which is why I a still sane. (At least, I think I am sane. Others might have a different opinion about that.) I have also been bidding for various furniture items on Trade Me and Facebook Marketplace. It’s actually really fun, a kind of treasure hunt as I track down the various bargain items and trawl around the city collecting my finds. My minimalist elder son is stressed by the growing mound of things in the garage, and when I said it was only going to get worse, he decided to leave home.
Actually, he was going to leave home anyway. Some of the things are for him as he will be going into Uni residence mid-February. It will be a new adventure for us all!
So this year, may you love deeply! May you grow and learn! And may you and yours have peace!