Ring in the New Year
As 2015 draws to a close, the mind and attention turn to how to ring in the New Year. Most folks we know gather with friends celebrating together and waiting for the countdown to midnight. Some wear festive glasses and hats and decorate their homes with a splash of colorful banners and balloons. Some of our friends make it a night on the town. And still others sit and watch the ball drop in Times Square. However you celebrate, Card & Party Giant has a selection of New Year’s party kits, party supplies, wearables, decorations, poppers, neons, and noisemakers to make your holiday celebration a hit and bring in 2016 with a bang. How we celebrate New Year’s Eve and the traditions in which we immerse ourselves vary from culture to culture. A friend of ours believes the New Year celebration should include a meal with grapes, greens, and beans. Her meat of choice is pork and when you look at what is suggested to avoid for a prosperous year to follow, it makes sense. Eating grapes on New Year’s Eve comes from a Spanish or Portuguese tradition and involves each person eating 12 grapes – one for each stroke of the clock at midnight. Each grape represents a month of the year and the goal is to finish all 12 grapes before the stroke of midnight. While I don’t understand the significance of eating of grapes, it is said this practice actually began as a way to use up the grapes left over after the harvest. Collard greens are prepared because green is the color of money. Thus the collard greens represent good fortune in the year to come. And while the collard greens are said to resemble the paper money, black eyed peas, lentils, and beans are said to be a representation of coins. Thus, they are also related to the concept of good fortune in the coming year. In addition to the foods, to ensure everyone has a good time on New Year's eve, the party includes an assortment of liquid libations and, of course, sweets. I don’t recall the particular sweets our friend prepares, but I know many countries have traditional New Year’s pastries. It seems most lean toward fried doughs of some kind and that they are covered with sweet sticky toppings like powdered sugar or honey. And, in some cultures, a coin is hidden inside the cake. The person whose piece holds the treasure is said to be the lucky one for the coming year. And if you are particularly superstitious or just want to be extra careful to fill your tummy with the luckiest of foods, you have to avoid foods like lobster or chicken. Lobsters swim backwards and chickens scratch backwards. Thus both represent possible setbacks. Another tradition we honor with our friends is the practice of going out doors and tossing pennies to ring in the New Year. I must confess I never can bring myself to throw pennies in the street because it seems counter-intuitive that you throw money away to make it come to you. Silly or not we all have our superstitions. However you celebrate, enjoy. Have fun and stay safe.