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I have never made a New Year’s Resolutions.  I figure, if I cannot get myself to do “whatever it is” during the year, then I am not going to follow through just because it is January 1st.  I have not even gone to a New Years Eve party in many years and I rather miss doing so. 

One of my grand nephews posted his New Year’s resolutions the other day and it made me wonder about New Year’s traditions.  Like most research, you never learn just one thing, when you start digging. 

Did you know?:

That, Auld Lang Syne is actually a Scottish song and is totally unreadable in English for me.  I really like Hamish Macbeth and Bagpipes and the landscape of Scotland and the lilt in their speech.  I just cannot always understand it.  Thanks to poet, Robert Burns, who wrote it, and Guy Lombardo, who first played it in 1929, we have a tradition that makes us feel, on January 1st, like we are part of something greater, as people all over  (okay, in your time zone anyway) sing the same song, at the same time, just with the wrong lyrics.  Sort of like our National Anthem, eh?  Check the link at the bottom of this post to view the proper lyrics.

That, Scotland is also the birthplace of Hogmanay (hog-mah-NAY).  This is a “rousing” Scottish tradition of “first-footing.”  Okay, when did the Scottish ever do anything that was n0t rousing?  That is why I love them so.  “First-footing” is when neighbors visit each other for New Year’s wishes.  They bring a gift of coal for the fire (which would be really welcome this year) and shortbread (which, I have had honest-to-goodness Scottish Shortbread and it is good).  It is sort of like our bottle of booze and cookies, which would be equally welcome.  The part I like is that it is considered especially lucky if a tall, dark and handsome man is the first person to enter your house after the New Year is rung.  Hmmmm, Viggo Mortensen, I will be waiting.  (HAH!  Betcha thought I could not figure a way to get him in for New Years?)

 On to Japan: As a symbol of renewal, New Years is a very important holidame to bid farewell to the problems of the past and prepare for a new beginning, and houses are scrubbed, with this in mind.  For several years now, I have said to myself “Whew! That year is done.  It’s gotta get better, next year.”  Now, I know where my problem lies.  This New Year’s day will find me elbow deep in soapy water.  I am working on a good new year.

Then, in Spain, they eat twelve grapes at midnight.  This secures twelve happy months.  So, I will be scrubbing with grapes in my mouth. 

In my Ancestral homeland of the Netherlands, at least the Dutch part, they burn their Christmas trees and shoots off fireworks to purge the old and welcome the new.  Since husband is allergic to what they put on fir trees, I have a plastic one.  Oh, the shame and totally non-burnable, so can I just burn the wood that is down from the tornado?  I am hedging all bets here.

So, this year, as the New Year ball drops in Times square and millions of people in fancy clothing gather to swill their favorite drink , eat cookies, and sing Auld Lang Syne , I shall be down on my knees scrubbing the house and eating grapes and blacked eyed peas.  This is a traditional southern dish and ensures I will have plenty of everything the rest of the new year.

And, what about my New Year’s Resolutions?  Those items the Babylonians are believed to have first made and broken? 

If we just work at:

  • treating each other with respect
  • treating our world with respect
  • and treating ourselves with respect

How can we lose?

It’s the first time I have used infoplease New Year’s Traditions  check it out.

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Until I heard a woman being interviewed a week ago, in reference to the North Dakota flooding, stating that she was lightly optimistic, and that to a Norwegian is like being ecstatic, I had no idea what my Norwegian heritage meant.  You see, I’m a mutt and until just about two years ago, none of those nationalities were Norwegian. 

 

Mom’s heritage is British and Basque, with a rumor of Native American thrown in there.  My dad, a VanVleck, had always thought he was British on his mother’s side and Dutch on his dad’s side. 

 

My nephew is really into genealogy JayJay’s World and has traced dad’s family back as far as:  Generation 7:  Van Vleck, John Henry Sr. 

 

John Henry, Sr., or his family, came to the USA in the early 1800’s.  It is unclear whether he was actually born here or in Holland.  So, dad was partly right, but apparently what my nephew is finding, is that the VanVlecks might have changed their name from VanVlackern when they originally came from Norway. 

  

I sometimes envy a person with one national heritage.  They know their holidays and their place in the world.  However, us Mutts do have the benefit of getting to choose one or all of the nationalities running in our veins. 

 

Let’s face it, most of us are from somewhere else,  But, as for me, the Norwegian information does explain some things about my dad.  His lightly pessimistic was like the pits of despondency.

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