During the Regency Era, if the family preferred to ring in the New Year at home there was such a custom for “the members of the household to sit themselves round the hearth, and when the hands of the clock approach the hour, the head of the family rises, goes to the front door, opens it wide, and holds it thus until the last stroke of midnight has died away. Having let the Old Year out and the New Year in, he shuts the door quietly and returns to the family circle.”
Many may have heard of the song, "Auld Lang Syne," it’s traditionally sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country worldwide to celebrate the New Year. This custom of singing this song on New Year’s Eve dates back to the British Isles from the 18th century when guests ended a party standing in a circle and singing this particular song.
And did you know, the New Year's Eve ball drop tradition can be traced back to 19th-century timekeeping! In 1833, the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England, installed a ball that would drop down a pole at 1 o'clock every afternoon to assist ship captains with calibrating their instruments. Other places besides Times Square use time-balls throughout the year, like the U.S. Naval Observatory, where a ball drops at noon every day!
Now that we have our taste buds tingling from the fascinating facts of our originating history, let’s see how our TQ ladies rang in the New Year…
For us it is lasagna and cole slaw.
My mother started the tradition of lasagna because it was something she could make-up the day before (New Year's Eve) and stick the pan in the refrigerator for the next day. I've carried this tradition on because after being out late it is nice to have dinner already prepared and ready to pop in the oven. The cole slaw is because my family believed that if you ate cabbage on the first day of the year you would be prosperous. It has been pointed out that none of us are wealthy and mom was quick to remind us that we have food, clothing and a roof over our head, which is what I have reminded my children when they complain about that one bite of coleslaw I make them eat each year. I never forget to eat cabbage on January 1st.
15 years ago, when I was 11, one of our traditions was to play games of bingo. With one of those bingo sets, with the big ball you spin with all the little bingo balls inside, until midnight. My parents would buy prizes: movies, CDs, $10 gift cards, special kinds of candy, etc and for each game there'd be a different prize.
These days, I go to bed about 9 and start mumbling in my sleep when the neighbors start lighting off the fireworks and scaring the dog.
I spent this New Year with The Scientist (my boyfriend), his daughter, some friends and their two daughters. We went to downtown Raleigh to see the "acorn" drop. Raleigh is the City of Oaks, so they drop a big acorn at 7p for kids and then again at midnight. We meant to make it for the kids drop but missed it due to traffic. YES, apparently a lot of people wanted to see a big acorn drop. I don't really get it either.
Having missed the acorn drop, the kids went ice skating instead, and then we headed back to our friends' house to ring in the New Year watching Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper on CNN, mainly because Anderson Cooper's giggle makes me laugh until my side hurts.
We have no traditions. It’s sad, but true. Hubby and I have spent years trying to find the *perfect* New Year. And every time we think, “this is it,” it turns out to be a disappointing night (no offense to anyone who has hosted or partied with us!) Not to say we didn’t have fun, but after a busy holiday season, staying up until midnight, going to sleep in a strange bed and having our kid wake up at all hours of the night just wasn’t ideal.
BUT, this year was different. We decided not to make a big deal out of New Year’s Eve. We did a kid thing during the day, and then we hung out on the couch, watched a movie and drank some wine in the evening. I’m pretty sure that until our little girl is old enough to party with us at a pre-fixe celebration, we’ll be chillin’ at home on the New Year. So we’ll see all you party animals in about 18 years.
Our best wishes to all for a happy, healthy 2013!
The Ladies of TQ