New year’s resolutions…
With a full 12 months of possibilities on the horizon, most people the world over take at least a few minutes to pledge the new year into one that is infinitely better than the last.
Get rich. Eat less. Sleep more. Be faster. Go to the gym.
Stop smoking. Be nicer. Drink less. Be healthy. Diet more.
Be quicker. Facilitate world peace. Donate to the poor.
Clean the house. Call parents. Be on time!
Thinking back to this time last year, I have no idea what I was determined to change in 2017, so quite probably. I will make similar promises to myself when midnight strikes this evening and more than likely, they will fade into oblivion as quickly as they came to mind.
The ritual of self-improving pledges dates back to Babylonian times and people across the globe have been breaking them ever since.
In Australia, celebrating the new year is simple – fireworks, friends and festivities.
Spain, Brazil and Portugal see revelers consume 12 grapes at midnight to represent the 12 months ahead, each grape swallowed whole and accompanied by a wish of hope and sweetness.
Brazilians also jump over seven shallow waves and dress in white to pay homage to the goddess of the sea Iemanja.
People in Ireland strike the side of a building with a loaf of bread to ward o. famine and hold a feast to reinforce the wish.
The southern parts of the US see the soaking of blackeyed peas, symbolizing prosperity and the combination of the peas with pork, representing forward motion, into “Hoppin’ John.”
Austrians also go with pork and waltz in the new year at midnight while blackeyed peas also feature in Vietnam, Portugal, the Caribbean, Greece and Cyprus.
The Italian option is one of my favorites – an all-night Feast of Saint Sylvester, featuring 12 desserts and sweets for each month of the year, including fresh fruit and biscotti.
While culinary traditions vary, all symbolize health, wisdom, wealth and happiness.
In Beijing, one tradition that is synonymous with New Year’s Eve – the popping of champagne corks and the blowing of horns at midnight is sure to feature heavily.