Leading up to New Year’s Eve, women across the country spend days on a diet of coffee and nicotine to fit into a tight sequined dress.
We find some over-crowded, smoky hotspot to watch the ball drop, and while chanting the countdown, we vow to eat cleaner, think smarter and work harder.
While making my New Year’s Eve plans, I started thinking about why it is that a midnight kiss and a champagne toast are elevated to such a steep significance.
This led me to wonder why it is that New Year’s Eve itself is so significant, and in turn, became desperate to know what all the other people of the world will be doing at the very moment I’ll be getting elbowed by drunks in funny hats on the dance floor.
For those of you who don’t know (as I hadn’t until now), the month of January was given its name in honor of Janus, the Roman god of new beginnings. Janus was said to have two faces; he was able to look back to the past and forward to the future.
Through the gift to find peace with closed doors and courage to open new ones, Janus’ month sets forth the idea that on the first of January, we take the first official steps of our new, annual journey.
For some of us, ringing in the New Year isn’t as much about merriment as it is a blurry night of high-priced cover charges and long bathroom lines.
While this environment leads us no closer to a fresh perspective on the upcoming year, we’re typically happy to oblige. For others, New Year’s Eve is so much more; it is an unconventional and inspired testament to the true abolition of the past and an outrageous launch into the unknown.
After research (that took place while consuming an entire bottle of red wine), I realized that while we’ll be busy securing our hair extensions and perfecting our selfies, people around the world are celebrating the New Year in a much cooler way.
On New Year’s Eve in Denmark, people of the town come out to smash dishes on their neighbors’ doorsteps. It’s with harmless, yet reckless abandon, that they show their well wishes. As a recipient, you are to take a large amount of broken tableware as a sign of consecrated good fortune.
Feliz ano Nuevo
In Chile, men and women gather in local graveyards. Chileans have a strong sense of history and believe that in order to carry on into the New Year, they must first summon the spirits of loved ones lost. In these cemeteries, they share tales of the old times and boast of their predictions for the year to come.
People in Ecuador have a tradition of setting fire to a sanctified scarecrow on their front lawns. This burning monument symbolizes an agreement to leave the past in flames and embolden the future to rise from its ashes.
It is old custom in parts of Southern Italy to throw things out of your window. The people from these communities relinquish themselves to the future by surrendering their possessions to the past. The ditching of belongings is a sign to the gods that they are ready to move forward by forgoing the old and accepting the new.
Eutuxes To Veo Etos
The people of Greece are encouraged to charge the streets with blow-up toys and play-hammers to participate in a “bloodless war.” They conclude their rivalry by the turn of midnight, allowing the New Year to evolve from a place of tranquility and resolution.
In an uninhabited version of our world, perhaps we could begin the New Year by smashing ceramics at a friend’s front door and lighting garden gnomes on fire, but for now, posh clubs and pretentious bottle service will have to do.
I’ll be satisfied with the cheap thrills of sequins and sparklers, but in regard to the bigger picture, something feels really good about knowing that people throughout this world will be welcoming 2014 in their own, special ways.