3 Jan 2009

Christmas (and year-end) Traditions part 3: the lists...


Inextricably linked to the holidays, the celebration of the end of one year and the beginning of the next (according to the western calendar) marks the end of the holidays for some (sorry!), while for others it's just past the halfway point (in some places the Christmas holidays aren't actually over yet... i.e. the "Twelve Days of Christmas" and all that, yay!). I'm still too tired myself from the festivities to actually write (and research) a full blown post on New Year's Eve traditions (mostly based on old superstitions to ensure starting off the new year on the right track), so I'll just mention a couple I know off the top of my head:
  • The Midnight Kiss: popular in the U.S., you're supposed to kiss someone at midnight.
  • 12 Grapes: in Spain you have to eat 12 grapes with the 12 strokes of midnight to ensure good luck throughout the year (and you'd better pick them rather small or you're liable to choke in the attempt, it's not easy!!!)
A quick Google search gave a few interesting pages with info and backstories on other New Year traditions/superstitions (mostly from the States, some from other countries):
  • http://wilstar.com/holidays/newyear.htm
  • http://www.english-zone.com/holidays/newyear-trads.html
  • http://www.snopes.com/holidays/newyears/beliefs.asp

The New Year also seems to inevitably come associated with lists. Lists of "best" or "worst" or "funniest" or "most dramatic" etc... of the year that's ending. Lists of resolutions, things we intend to do in the New Year, typically to improve our lives in some way, or at least to try and correct some of our flaws, or just lists of things we'd like to do. All these are very personal. After all it's virtually impossible to objectively choose a "best" in anything related to art, (top ten movie lists seem to be all over the place, there's even one site -MCN- that's got a table summarising them all!) personal tastes have a heavy influence. And as for resolutions... well, I for one have never been able to keep them! Actually stopped making any a few years back, although I might start again this year if only as something to use as a goal to work towards during the year. Yup, new year's resolutions are more motivators of our behaviour than any other thing.

Hmm... doesn't seem to be a very full post this time, but it's disorderlyness and emptyness kind of reflect my mind on the days following an all-night New Year's Eve party. If I want to make any resolutions they'll have to wait until I'm rested enough to sit and ponder...

To finish off, I came across and goofy list of New Year's resolutions for "geeks"! My favourites:
  • "2. Will wait until I have seen at least one full episode of Joss Whedon's new TV series Dollhouse before I start writing letters to Fox begging them not to cancel it."
  • "3. Will keep an open mind about the new Star Trek film and not prejudge it based on trailers that, let's face it, were probably assembled by some Hollywood PR people who aren't real Trek fans—why, they've probably never even been to a convention! I will further remember that eliminating prejudice is one of the tenets of the Federation."
  • "8. Will not feel bereft when Battlestar Galactica finally ends, by remembering that Caprica is coming in 2010, even though it will probably not be nearly as good, because let's face it, lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place, though Esai Morales and Eric Stoltz are pretty good so you never know. Further, I will try not to be too disappointed at the reveal of the Last Cylon, though I reserve the right to yell "Lame!" at the TV screen."
  • "9. Will not dwell on the plot holes in Lost, no matter how huge they may be, and just enjoy the show for the weird fun drama it is. I will remind myself that, even when it makes no sense at all, it's still more watchable than roughly 80% of the other shows on in prime time. Plus it has Michael Emerson in it, and he's awesome."

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