Niagara Gazette

Columns

January 1, 2013

BRADBERRY: Should old acquaintance be forgot, or not?

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette —

Now, the Babylonians knew how to party; their New Year celebration lasted for eleven days straight; each day having its own theme. They took the end of winter and the arrival of Spring very seriously by celebrating the season as the beginning of their New Year; they made the planting of fresh new crops a good reason to emerge from their winter doldrums, to reunite with neighbors, to forgive old trespasses and begin anew, refreshed.

Once the modern calendars were finally synchronized and adopted setting January 1 instead of the arrival of Spring as the beginning of the New Year the stage was set for a singular, world-wide celebration.

Suffice it to say that while modern New Year's Eve festivities, ball drops, guitar drops and internationally televised all-night celebrity-studded galas could not hold a candle in comparison to the length of the Babylonian feasts, they are getting close in intensity.

It is said that the tradition of making New Year's resolutions dates back to the early Babylonians; their most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment.

Some people still practice some of the ancient traditions whether they make any sense, or not believing that one could affect the luck they will have throughout the coming year by whom they are with, what they did or what they eat on the first day of the year.

Many cultures believe that anything in the shape of a ring is good luck, because it symbolizes "coming full circle," completing a year's cycle.

Traditional New Year foods are also thought to bring luck.

• Dutch believe that eating donuts on New Year's Day will bring good fortune

• Many parts of the U.S. celebrate the New Year by consuming black-eyed peas and ham

• Cabbage is another "good luck" vegetable that is consumed on New Year's Day by many

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