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New Year's Traditions: Personal and Global

Updated on December 11, 2010

This will be the first New Years' Eve that I'm actually doing that thing that many people do: dressing up and going out. Like so many others in urban areas, I will be taking a taxi to a friend's house where we'll wait for the group to gather. Then we'll find a bar or other venue that's hosting some sort of dancing and drinking. At midnight, we will count down the seconds and kiss each other on the lips. Then we will likely go on dancing. It's a common way to start the New Year, especially in a city like San Francisco where there is sure to be something going on at every hot spot.

So why is it that I've never participated in this city tradition before? I suppose it's because I always had something of a tradition of my own. When I lived in my hometown, I would always head to my parents' house to spend the evening in with the family. This started when we were all a little bit worried about Y2K. We didn't really think that anything was going to happen but we wanted to be together in case it did. We huddled together in the living room, played cards and told stories. All of us except my sister were asleep before midnight, a fact commemorated by the sleeping pictures she took of each of us as the clock struck twelve. In the years to come, there would be many more year-passing card games and many more sleeping pictures.

After moving, I kept this tradition up without planning on it. Although I like going out on the town as much as the next person, I really don't enjoy fighting the holiday crowds that gather at most places. The drinks and cover charges are higher, the cabs are harder to flag down and the fun seems to seep out of it for me. So I stay home. Sometimes I stay at someone else's home and recreate the fun of my old family tradition. Other times I stay at my home and invite people and their pillows to come fall asleep before midnight at my place. Sometimes the card games last long enough that we do the countdown. Often they don't. And I've always been okay with that.

Traditions like these don't get planned. They just kind of happened. And like this one for me, we sometimes don't even realize that there's a tradition in place until we're not doing it anymore. Of course, there are also more common traditions associated with New Years which many people do participate in. Some of these New Years' Traditions include:

o Watching the ball drop in Times Square on a television screen while counting down the seconds with a group of people.

o Kissing those who are near you at Christmas.

o Rose Parade and Rose Bowl celebrations. The people of Pasadena, California aren't the only ones who consider New Year's Day a day to watch the game.

o Eating the same foods each year. Many people order Chinese Food or pizza on New Year's Day. Others have certain foods available to their guests on New Year's Eve. Donuts and black-eyed peas are on the list of food certain areas of the world consider to be New Year's foods.

o Fireworks. Many cities light fireworks to celebrate the start of the new year.

o A Day Off. Almost everyone takes the day off from work. Sounds like a great way to kick off a year to me!

o Vacations. Many people start the new year somewhere new. Copacabana Beach in Brazil and Times Square in New York are just a few of the hot spots that see numerous travelers congregating on New Year's Eve or Day.

o Twelve grapes. Each one represents the months to come and means good wishes for those people who eat twelve grapes at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve.

o New Year's Resolutions. Making them and then breaking them is often a tradition kept by many.

Come to think of it, I also do something like New Year's Resolutions every year. I sit down with my journal and think about the year that just passed and what I accomplished. And then I think of the things I hope to accomplish. I make sure to include more than goals about exercise or earning money. I include fun little projects and goals like learning to make chicken tortilla soup or building a sandcastle at a beach I've never been to or reading every book by a certain author. At the end of the year, the list gets looked at again and the whole cycle starts over. Maybe this year's list should include "staying up until midnight!"


Submit a Comment

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Hope you had a good New Year's Day and a good 2011! It's nice keeping a list of resolutions made for the forthcoming year though. I'll be sticking to mine - at least I'll try!

  • acaetnna profile image


    8 years ago from Guildford

    Awesome - I hope you enjoy every minute. A Happy New Year to you.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    that will the best that you can do because you are able to think of your friend this special day.

  • Whitney05 profile image


    11 years ago from Georgia

    Cool! Hope you have fun!!


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