Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Rituals Around the World

Around the world family, friends and loved ones come together on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day to celebrate. In the United States we gather on New Year's Eve to "ring out the old and ring in the new" by raising our glasses at midnight while sharing hugs and kisses and listening to, or reveling, Auld Lang Syne. (The term, "ring out the old and ring in the new" comes from the United Kingdom where, at the approach of midnight, the head of the household would open the front door and hold it open until the twelfth chime from Big Ben has rung in the New Year, then he would close the door. The song, Auld Lang Syne, comes from Scotland, where it is sung at the beginning of their New Year's Eve hogmanay festival, a festival where men parade throughout the streets swinging great balls of fire over their heads.)

Other cultures around the world use clothing, food and effigies to celebrate the New Year. For example, in the Philippines people wear polka dot clothing believing it will bring luck for the New Year. In Italy people wear bright colored underwear -- red for passion and love and yellow for wealth and happiness. In Mexico, some people wear white clothing believing it to ward off illness and bring good health for the New Year. In Ecuador, they burn effigies at midnight of people who have brought them harm in the past year, while in Panama they burn munelos -- effigies of popular celebrities or politicians.

People of many other countries celebrate the New Year by eating food.

Spain -- In an effort to use their surplus of grapes and get more customers, several Spanish wine farmers in 1865 began a tradition of having their customers eat 12 grapes at midnight. They chose 12 grapes to represent each of the 12 months of the year. At the stroke of midnight, and for each of the 11 chimes of the clock thereafter, Spaniards eat one grape. It is believed if you consume all 12 grapes your dreams will come true. It's actually funny to watch everyone stuffing grapes into their mouths in an effort to get them all down with each chime of the clock.

Netherlands -- The Dutch believe eating donuts (called Oliebollens) on New Year's Day brings luck since the shape of the continuous round sharp of the donut symbolizes the continuous passage of time from the end of one year to the beginning of the next.

Argentina -- People eat beans before midnight because they believe it will bring them good luck in their careers in the year ahead.

Cuba -- Since the US has announced that you can soon travel to Cuba, if you are there on New Year's Day you most likely will eat pork. The Cubans believe because pigs never move backwards, eating pork will help them move forward into and through the New Year.

Asian Countries -- Most Asian people cook unbroken long noodles and eat them on New Year's Day believing the "Long Noodle" will give them longevity in life, but only if they eat them whole.

And in other countries, such as Canada, they celebrate New Year's Day with their traditional Polar Bear swim. With all due respect to the Canadians, I'd just as soon celebrate New Year's Day drinking a warm mug of Sippity® hot cocoa by my fireplace.

Countdown Recipe (For Those Age 21 and Older; Those Under 21 Should Leave Out the Whiskey)

countdown
Recipe Ingredients
  • 1 Envelope Sippity® chocolate flavored hot cocoa mix
  • 1.0 Ounces Whiskey
Preparation Instructions
  1. Heat 6 ounces water in microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in 2/3 of 1 envelope of Sippity® chocolate flavored hot cocoa mix until smooth.
  3. Add 1.0 Ounces of your favorite whiskey.
  4. At 10 seconds to midnight on New Year's Eve, begin the countdown: 10! 9! 8! 7! 6! 5! 4! 3! (Drop the whiskey shot glass into the glass of hot cocoa mix), 2! 1! 0 -- "Belt" it back -- HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Written by Bob Jenkins, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Beverages

Bob has had the privilege of working for some of America's largest and well run public and private companies, including Philip Morris, Canada Dry, Dr Pepper, Cadbury Schweppes, Snapple Beverage Corporation, Tasker Capital Corp. and The Water Club and River Cafe -- two of New York's finest fine dining restaurants. He has worked in various capacities as Finance Manager, Controller, Director of Finance, Vice President Finance & Administration, Chief Financial Officer, Secretary, and Treasurer.

Bob holds a Master's of Business Administration degree in accounting from the University of Tennessee and a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Arizona. Southwest Beverages® is a manufacturer and marketer of two brands of premium quality dry mix beverages: Sippity® hot cocoa mix and Kemosabe® gourmet flavored coffee. All Southwest Beverages® products are uniquely blended flavors that contain all the ingredients necessary for you to enjoy the ultimate hot beverage experience. Simply add water and stir -- then sip, savor and enjoy.

For more information, please visit www.southwestbeverages.com.

Disclosure: I have previously received complimentary product samples from Southwest Beverages to facilitate my honest review of their products.

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