Happy New Year 2011
by Judie Haynes
Join the 2011 New Year's Eve celebrations in Scotland, Philadelphia, Japan, and New York City. Teach your students about some of these unique celebrations.
Whether your students celebrate the New Year on January 1st or not, they will enjoy learning about different celebrations to bring in the New Year. Have students see when New Year's Eve is celebrated in each time zone at time and date.com.
Diverse New Year Celebrations
- Spaniards rush to devour 12 grapes at the start of the new year,eating one with each chime of the clock.
- Peruvians swallow the grapes whole while sitting underneath a table. They also wear yellow underwear.
- Brazilians from Rio de Janeiro gather at beaches and plunge into the ocean at midnight bearing offerings of flowers, candles, candies, cigars and sugarcane alcohol to the ocean goddess Iemanja.
- In the Fort de Chartres, Illinois, residents put on cornhusk costumes and go door-to-door to sing old French tunes.This is an an old French tradition.
- Norwegians eat a traditional lutefisk meal: mashed green peas, bacon, mustard, boiled potatoes and lutefisk. Lukefisk is a a dried cod fish made with caustic soda.
Hogmanay in Scotland
Hogmanay, the Scottish New Year, is celebrated on the 31st of December every year. In large cities, such as Glasgow and Edinburgh, it has become a big festival. For a view of 1000 Pipers gathered at Edinburgh castle and piping their way down to Holyrood palace, go to Homnanay.com and click video of "1000 Pipers."
Celebrations start in the early evening, and when the bells of Big Ben chime at the turn of midnight, there is a lot of kissing and everyone sings Auld Lang Syne.
In more remote parts of Scotland "firstfooting,"and Scottish dances, or ceilidhs, take place. For centuries, torch light processions have played an important part in the Hogmanay celebrations.
- Hogmanay's roots reach back to the pagan practice of sun and fire worship in the deep mid-Winter.
- The fire at Hogmanay symbolises many things. It shows how the light of knowledge is brought from one year to the next. It carries forward the light of hope to a better world
- It is believed that you will have a prosperous new year if a tall, dark stranger comes to your door at midnight,with a lump of coal for the fire, a cake, or coin. You must offer him food, wine, or whisky. Each year, groups of friends or family do a tour of each others' houses "First Footing" each other. Each family takes a turn providing a meal for the group.
- Scottish children go from house to house collecting oatcakes.
- Parties held this night are called ceilidhs, which are Scottish dances.
- At midnight everyone sings "Auld Lang Syne." The words to this song are:
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o'kindness yet
For auld lang syne!
New Year's Day in Philadelphia, PA: The Mummer's Parade
One of the most unusual New Year's celebrations in the United States is the Mummer's Parade in Philadelphia on January 1st. Featuring elaborate costumes that rival those in Mardi Gras parades, comedy, and string bands, this parade is truly unique. Information about the parade can be found at a href="http//:www. mummers.com/"> Mummers.com
- Philadelphia's Mummers Parade grew out of customs brought to the Philadelphia area by European settlers. The parade probably dates back to medieval England, where troupes of costumed performers went from house to house presenting a folk drama or mummer's play at Christmas time.
- Immigrants from Sweden and Finland celebrated the New Year by banging pots and pans and shooting guns. Other cultures have also left their mark on the New Year holiday, especially the Germans whose word "Mummer" means mask. The earliest known Mummers club was formed in the 1840s and the first official "Mummer's Parade" was held in Philadelphia in 1901.
- Over 25,000 "Mummers" from different clubs spend a year preparing elaborate routines and ornate costumes for the parade. On New Year's Day they wear their costumes and strut along the parade route, with the accompaniment of bands that consist of accordions, saxes, drums, violins, banjos, bass fiddles, glockenspiels, and clarinets. To see the different sections and to get an idea of the traditions go to Mummer's Parade.
- A beginning Japanese ESL student could be asked to contribute information about the food served for the Japanese Osho-gatsu (New Year). This student could draw pictures of the food served and to label them.
- An advanced beginner may be asked to draw and label a kimono and write a few sentences about its use on New Year's Day. This writing would be accompanied by a drawing.
- More advanced students may be asked to interview parents and explain the following:
- See the ball drop at Time's Square on EarthCam.com. EarthCam will webcast the 2011 New Year's celebration in Times Square with streaming video with audio from multiple webcams.
- Revelers will start to arrive late in the afternoon on New Year's Eve. By 6:00 p.m., the Bow Tie of Times Square (42nd to 47th Sts. Between Broadway and 7th Ave.) will be closed to traffic. Plan to get there early.
- After the New Year's Eve Ball is lit, city officials and guests at the Countdown Stage in the center of Times Square will ring a commemorative bell.
- A special guest will push the Waterford crystal button that marks the final sixty-second countdown prior to the Ball Lowering.
- Marking the New Year at the stroke of midnight, the light bulbs on the New Year's Eve Ball are turned off as the numerals of the New Year "2009" shine high above Times Square.
- A two-minute pyrotechnic display will illuminate the sky above One Times Square. Bursts of custom-mixed colors glitter in the night sky and are computer-controlled and synchronized with the other special effects.
- The world-famous New Year's Eve confetti will be released from rooftops of buildings throughout Times Square as the revelers cheer in the New Year.
New Year's in Japan
People in Japan celebrate the New Year on January 1st. At midnight on December 31st, Buddhist temples ring their bells 108 times, symbolizing the 108 human sins in Buddhist belief. It is thought that the tolling of the bells can take away the sins of the past year.
Foods are eaten for their symbolic meaning and play a large role in Japan's celebration. Herring roe [fish egg] is eaten for fertility, black beans for health, dried chestnuts for success and prawns as omens of happiness.
New Year's Cards are sent before New Year's Day but the post office keeps them and delivers them all at one time on January 1st.
In your ESL class Japanese students can do the following to teach classmates about their New Year's celebration:
karuta - a card game played by children on New year's Day
hanetsuki - a badminton type game played on New Year's Day.
kite flying - a traditional New Year's activity for boys
hatsu-mode - an important New Year's visit by families to Shinto temples to pray for a healthy and happy New Year.
kado-matsu - pine and bamboo decorations put up outside of homes to celebrate the New Year
nengajo - New Year's greeting cards
otoshidama - money given to children on New Year's Day.
kagami-mochi - large cakes of steamed rice made and displayed in a place of importance in the house until January 11th when it is eaten.
History of New Year's Eve in Time's Square, New York
In 1904, The New York Times held the first rooftop celebration at One Times Square. This consisted of a fireworks display to inaugurate their new headquarters in Times Square. The first Ball-lowering celebration was held on December 31, 1907 and has continued for the past 100 years. In 2008, a new ball was used in the New Year's celebration. The new Times Square New Year's Eve Ball is a 12 foot geodesic ball, twice the size of previous balls, and weighs 11,875 pounds. Covered in 2,668 Waterford Crystals and powered by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDS, the new Ball is capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colors and billions of patterns producing a spectacular kaleidoscope effect atop One Times Square. For more information about the New Year's Ball go to Waterford Ball.
The Time's Square 2011 New Year's Celebration
© 1998-2010 Judie Haynes, www.everythingESL.net