Growing up, our family’s New Year’s Day tradition consisted of watching the Mummers parade ALL day because that’s how long it took to get to the finale and then to enjoy pork with sauerkraut dinner to somehow bring good luck in the year ahead. Umm, would be roasting an entire pig be too much this year, asking for a friend?
I don’t know about everyone else, but I’ve been doing some research to amp up the whole good luck thing for 2021. According to the Google search box I’m not alone.
It was fascinating and alarming as to how some countries around the world ring in the new year. For instance, in Spain it is customary to eat 12 grapes, one at each clock’s stroke. Eating grapes seems easy enough, but it will be a hard NO for me without being surrounded by a group of people who can perform the Heimlich maneuver. It’s still 2020 until that last grape hits the mouth.
Denmark knows how to go out with a good old fashioned release of frustration. You’ll have to grab all of those unwanted dishes, or in this house, I could use the 5000000000 coffee mugs that never see a drop of coffee. Now, according to tradition, you head over to a friend’s home and smash them on the front door to ward off evil spirits and welcome good vibes. The definition of “friend” needs to be CRYSTAL CLEAR before you get started.
As if that weren’t enough for this Danish crew of thrill-seekers, they also try to find the highest peak they can, sometimes climbing on top of chairs, tables, and other objects in the home to jump into the New Year. Let me just put this out there, folks. If you’ve been eating and drinking ALL night and are over the age of 5, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, climb or jump. Remember, you’ll be heading to a Corona virus-infested ER alone if something goes wrong.
Ok, considering the political shit show we’ve all endured this year, I think we might need to embrace the tradition of the Ecuador locals who celebrate Los Anos Viejos, which translates to “the old years”—a tradition in which you want to destroy any of your past demons. This is where it gets good.
Locals use this as an opportunity to create dolls, like scarecrows; some are decorated with signs describing sins, while others (here is where it gets good) resemble sinister people. The creations are then filled with straw, newspaper, and anything else that burns fast. As the clock strikes twelve, the look-alikes are set on fire in the front yard, representing the good riddance to the old and welcoming the new. Oh, sweet Jesus, get this girl a match!
If you’re looking for some less dramatic ways to bring luck and love into your homes, you can turn to Italy to get the party started. It is customary to wear red underwear on NYE in Italy to bring love, prosperity, and good luck. Never underestimate the power of your Valentines’ panties. In the city of Venice, people gather in St. Mark’s Square to welcome the new year with a mass kissing session. Who needs fireworks.
In Wales, you’ll see many back doors opening at midnight to let the old year out. The entry is then locked to ensure that the hot mess doesn’t return. This year they might want to open some windows as well, to be sure it’s gone. We shouldn’t rule out a security system.
Well, considering 2020 has been so extra for many of us, I think it might be a good idea to ring in 2021 the same way. Forget what I said earlier. Eat that pork with a 12 grape chaser in your red underwear while setting your sinister scarecrow look-alike on fire as you jump off of a chair, breaking dishes as you open the back door. Take that 2020!
I wish all of you a happy, healthy, prosperous, and patient 2021!
Buckle up and Enjoy the Ride!
Christmas morning 2020, quietly sitting listening to the rainfall outside. The deck doors are open, and a nice unseasonably warm breeze is blowing through the room while I bite the limbs off of a gingerbread man and sip coffee.
My children are adults, so there is no need to be awake at this time, yet here I am scrolling through my FaceBook memories of past Christmas celebrations surrounded by family, friends, laughter, and love. Jeez, talk about a mixed bag of emotions coming to the surface.
Last year our house was full to the brim. We were full of Christmas spirit with two new little ones in the family experiencing all of their firsts. They had no clue what was going on, but it didn’t matter to all of us oohing and aahing over every move they made.
Our celebration today will look much different. My mind is not fully committed to the festivities today, but my heart is aching for some sense of normalcy, so I’m going to do my best, and that will be enough.
This year it’s a party of 6, not 16, so I will not need engineering skills to ensure that everyone has a seat at the table. Although I’ll be missing the others dearly, it allows me to embrace this crew with extra love. I hope they’re all ready for the hug fest that’s waiting for them over here.
Thanks to technology, we’ll be able to share in the little ones enjoying the excitement of Santa on repeat if we want, and we can FaceTime the others around the country to spread some cheer. As for those who we lost, we will be keeping their spirits alive sharing the many memories we had the privledge of making over the years.
My Christmas wish for the future is to just continue on with life. Continue to see the good and be good. Continue to have patience. Continue to be healthy. Continue to grow. Continue to heal. Continue to recognize the love around us. Continue to surprise a sometimes mean world with acts of kindness.
Continue to Enjoy the Ride!