Good Saturday morning, my friends, and welcome to theSince the new year is right around the corner, I thought we should have a little bit of fun with it.
Here in the U.S., the big televised celebration takes place in New York City’s Times Square, where an estimated one million people, many wearing funny hats ‘n glasses, pack themselves into the square to watch a big ball drop over a 60-second period, reaching the ground at exactly midnight EST. Now, I found a bit of interesting trivia about the ball drop. The Times Square ball drop dates back to 1907 when the ball weighed 700 pounds and had a diameter of 5 feet. It was constructed out of wood and iron and had one hundred light bulbs on it. This year, the ball is a geodesic (whatever the heck that means) sphere, 12 feet in diameter, weighing 11,875 pounds, and covered with a total of 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles that vary in size, and range in length from 4 ¾ inches to 5 ¾ inches per side. It will have some 32,000 LED lights. Personally, I think the 1907 ball was just fine … no, I wasn’t around then, but I just like simplicity, and all those lights and Waterford Crystal seem like overkill to me.The celebration at Times Square drops over 2,000 pounds of confetti on a million people each year. Needless to say, these people make quite a mess … such a mess that it takes 200 people to haul away the 50 tons of trash, rendering the square spotless again by 8:00 AM the next morning.
So, we know that people in the U.S. celebrate mainly by drinking too much, making lots of noise in whatever manner they can, whether it’s fireworks of banging pots ‘n pans. But, how do people in other countries celebrate the new year?
- New Year’s Eve in Greece has many traditions. During the day, children sing the New Year’s carols to be given money or treats. Then, it is time to have family lunch or dinner. In the evening, people cook a pie named “King’s pie” or Vassilopita, which is actually a cake flavored with almonds. Following tradition, they put a coin wrapped in aluminum foil inside the pie. During the family dinner, the hostess puts some of her jewelry in a plate and serves it in the side of the table, as a symbol of the coming year’s prosperity. After the dinner is over, the dish is not washed until the next day. The reason for that is that Saint Vassilis (Greek Santa Claus) is awaited during the New Year’s Eve and it is considered common courtesy to leave some food for the traveler who visits the house to bring the presents during the night. When midnight arrives, the families count down and then they turn off all the lights and reopen their eyes to “enter the year with a new light”. After the fireworks show, they cut the Vassilopita and serve it. The person that gets the wrapped coin is the lucky person of the day and he is also blessed for the rest of the year. Gifts exchanges may follow.
- In Italy, New Year’s Eve (Vigilia di Capodanno or Notte di San Silvestro) is celebrated by the observation of traditional rituals, such as wearing red underwear. An ancient tradition in southern regions (rarely followed today) was disposing of old or unused items by dropping them from the window (I rather like that idea!). Dinner is traditionally eaten with relatives and friends. It often includes zampone or cotechino (a meal made with pig’s feet or entrails), and lentils. At 8:30 pm, the President reads a television message of greetings to Italians. At midnight, fireworks are displayed all across the country. Rarely followed today is the tradition that consist in eating lentil stew when bell tolls midnight, one spoonful per bell. This is supposed to bring good fortune; the round lentils represent coins.
- In Portugal the New Year celebration is taken very seriously. The tradition is to drink champagne and eat twelve raisins – one for each month of the year, making a wish for each. Another Portuguese tradition is a special cake called Bolo-Rei (literally: King Cake). Bolo-Rei is a round cake with a large hole in the center, resembling a crown covered with crystallized and dried fruit. It is baked from a soft, white dough, with raisins, various nuts and crystallized fruit. Inside is hidden the characteristic fava bean. Tradition dictates that whoever finds the fava has to pay for the Bolo-Rei next year. Initially, a small prize (usually a small metal toy) was also included within the cake. However, the inclusion of the prize was forbidden by the European Union for safety reasons. The Portuguese brought the recipe of the Gateau des Rois from France in the second half of the 19th century. To this day, this recipe is a very well-kept secret.
Although many people make resolutions for the new year, rarely are they kept past the second day of January. I haven’t made a new year’s resolution in probably 40 years, for I learned early on that resolving to do something is the surest way to ensure it won’t get done. If you want to do something to improve yourself or your life … just do it. There’s no need to talk about it or write it down … just do it. That said, I thought these were humorous …
- My New Year’s resolution is to be more optimistic by keeping my cup half-full … with either rum, vodka, or whiskey.
- My resolution was to read more … so I put the subtitles on my TV.
- I was going to quit all my bad habits for the new year … but then I remembered that nobody likes a quitter.
- At the beginning of this year I made a New Year’s resolution to lose 10 pounds … only 15 more to go!
- My New Year’s resolution is to break my New Year’s resolutions. That way I succeed at something!
Not all of the New Year jokes are about resolutions …
A New Year’s Wish
On New Year’s Eve, Marilyn stood up in the local pub and said that it was time to get ready. At the stroke of midnight, she wanted every husband to be standing next to the one person who made his life worth living. Well it was kind of embarrassing. As the clock struck – the bartender was almost crushed to death.
Lecture Tour with A Difference
On New Year’s Eve, Daniel was in no shape to drive, so he sensibly left his van in the car park and walked home. As he was wobbling along, he was stopped by a policeman. ‘What are you doing out here at four o’clock in the morning?’ asked the police officer.’I’m on my way to a lecture,’ answered Roger.’And who on earth, in their right mind, is going to give a lecture at this time on New Year’s Eve?’ enquired the constable sarcastically. ‘My wife,’ slurred Daniel grimly.
How to Quit Smoking
Peter, at a New Year’s party, turns to his friend, Ken, and asks for a cigarette. ‘I thought you made a New Year’s resolution to quit smoking,’ Ken responds. ‘I’m in the process of quitting,’ replies Peter with a grin. ‘Right now, I am in the middle of phase one. ”Phase one?’ wonders Ken. ‘Yeah,’ laughs Peter, ‘I’ve quit buying.’
A Bad Dream?
Jemima was taking an afternoon nap on New Year’s Eve before the festivities. After she woke up, she confided to Max, her husband, ‘I just dreamed that you gave me a diamond ring for a New Year’s present. What do you think it all means? ”Aha, you’ll know tonight,’ answered Max smiling broadly. At midnight, as the New Year was chiming, Max approached Jemima and handed her small package. Delighted and excited she opened it quickly. There in her hand rested a book entitled: ‘The meaning of dreams’.
And that wraps up today’s Saturday Surprise! I hope you found something to bring a smile to your face, and now … get out there and enjoy the last few days of 2019!!!