Throughout modern history the people in the majority of countries consider New Year’s Day the most festive holiday. The actual date when the holiday is celebrated varies based on the calendar that has been adopted, but those with the Julian calendar do their celebrating on Jan. 1.
In the United States, the most popular New Year’s Day event occurs in New York City. Millions of people gather around Times Square to view the dropping of the ball ceremony. Over 100 million people in the United States, and one billion viewers worldwide, watch the event on television.
The program begins at 6 p.m. and ends at midnight when the huge ball is dropped and a sign lights up with the digits of the new year.
The event was first celebrated on New Year’s Eve 1904, and has attracted many visitors every year since then.
Many people from Acadiana attend the event. In the past, my three sons and other family members have flown to New York for the celebration. But frankly I prefer staying at home and listening to the neighbor’s fireworks.
I remember my father celebrated the occasion by firing two shells with his shotgun – one representing the old year and one for the new year. The practice is still observed by many of my neighbors, and I may do the same this year.
Our children spent Christmas day with their spouse’s families, and all should be at our home on New Year’s Day.
Like our parents and grandparents did, the meal is planned around health and wealth. The meal will include cabbage and black eye peas. According to tradition the green cabbage represents wealth and black eye peas are eaten for health.
The preparation of the cabbage is usually my chore. I do it my way – just like mother and grandmother did. I remember that both of them would sharpen their knife on a stone early in the morning so that the cabbage could be sliced razor thin – no grinding or chopping. Apples, raisins, or carrots are not included in the salad. The only dressing used is a combination of white vinegar and sugar.
In the olden days, cabbage and black eye peas were grown on the farm. Once the peas were picked and shelled they were stored in a cool dry place for later use. I do remember that many of the gardeners preferred planting purple hull peas, a variety of the black eye, and those were used for the New Year’s Day meal.
The year 2012 could be a year for big changes. Senators, congressmen, and a president will be elected. Major changes in educating our youth will occur when the St. Martin Parish School Board will open a virtual school. And we will have an extra day during the year. Yes, 2012 is a leap year.
But there may be something to worry about next year. The Ancient Mayan’s Long Count Calendar ends on December 21, 2012. Some are predicting a catastrophic event on that date. Others predict that only a great change will occur.
Our hope is that if change is to occur it is for the best. My family and I wish to take this opportunity to hope everyone enjoys a healthy and prosperous new year.
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