Web Blog of Connie Vines, author or multi-genre fiction. Awards: H.O.L.T. Medallion (Honoring Outstanding Literary Talent), Orange Rose, Award of Excellence--Contemporary Romance; Independent eBook Award, Dream Realm Award. National Book Award and Frankfurt Book Award, nominee--YA Historical Fiction. Blog includes guest bloggers and snippets of WIP.
New Year's Traditions -From ancient times, people
have welcomed the new year with rituals to attract good fortune.
New Year's Eve, with its emphasis on romance and indulgence,
might seem like a totally secular celebration. But underneath all that glitter
and sparkle is an ancient holiday with deep spiritual roots. For centuries, and
in similar ways, people have been observing the end of one year and the
beginning of another.
celebrated with six days of carousing that would probably be familiar to us
today. St. Boniface, a missionary from England who visited Rome in 742, was
appalled at how the Romans celebrated Kalends of January, as the New Year was
called, with "dancing in the streets, heathenish cries, sacrilegious songs,
tables laden with food and women wearing amulets and offering them for
A Time of
Rebirth - Because the Winter Solstice is the turning point of the year,
beginning the lengthening of days, it has long been viewed as the birth of the
year--by pagans celebrating the return of the Sun, and by Christians welcoming
the birth of the Son of God. The days between Solstice and the New Year are a
magical, luminous time period, when anything is possible. In England, the
Twelve Days of Christmas were considered omen days which could be used to
predict the weather in the coming year. In Scotland, no court had power during
these days; and in Ireland, tradition held that if a person died during the
Twelve Days, he or she went straight to Heaven.
In ancient Babylon, the days between the
Winter Solstice and the New Year were seen as the time of a struggle between
Chaos and Order, with Chaos trying to take over the world. Other cultures
(Hindu, Chinese, Celtic) also viewed this as a time for reversing order and
rules-celebrants would change roles with servants or dress in costumes for a
time until order was restored.
Fresh - While
each culture's New Year celebration has its own flavor, there are certain
common themes. The period leading up to New Year's Day is a time for setting
things straight: a thorough housecleaning, paying off debts, returning borrowed
objects, reflecting on one's shortcomings, mending quarrels, giving alms. In
many cultures, people jump into the sea or a local body of water-literally washing
the slate clean.
In some towns in
Italy you have to watch out for falling objects, as people shove their old
sofas, chairs and even refrigerators out of their windows on New Year's Eve. In
Ecuador, people make dummies, stuffed with straw, to represent the events of
the past year. These "ano viejo" effigies are burned at midnight,
thus symbolically getting rid of the past.
are made, most traditions teach that they should be completed before midnight
on New Year's Eve. According to British folklore, you should not sweep on New
Year's Day, or you will sweep your good luck away, or take anything out of the
house-even trash. You only want to bring new things in to insure abundance in
the coming year. If you must carry something out, be sure to bring something
else in first, preferably a coin concealed outside the previous night. As this
medieval poem reminds us:
Take out, then take in
Bad luck will begin
Take in, then take out
Good luck comes about
(and Underwear) for Good Fortune- Everything you do on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day is
freighted with significance for the future. The American custom of spending the
night with the one you love and kissing them at midnight insures that the
relationship will flourish during the coming year. In Rio de Janeiro, more than
a million people gather on the beaches on December 31st to honor Yemanja, the
Yoruban "Mother of the Sea," who brings good fortune.
Even the color of underwear Brazilians wear on the first day of
the new year has meaning. Pink brings love, yellow, prosperity; and white,
peace and happiness.