Happy New Year
I don’t know how other communities celebrated New Year’s Eve or whether our community was different but I will always remember the first New Year’s Eve I was allowed (and able to) stay awake for the entire event. The evening was spent at my grandmother’s home and it was quite a festive occasion with music, laughter, dancing, games and tables heaped with food, and many, many people as family and friends gathered.
The countdown began about 11:30 and at about five minutes before midnight the doors were flung wide to the cold winter air and everyone descended out into the cold and the snow. All doors were open wide ….. every door up and down the block was wide open with people in yards and the street. At precisely midnight gunshots could be heard; fired (using blank cartridges) into the air; people banged on metal pots and pans, hooted and hollered into the night, every church bell in town tolled the moment as did the town fire alarm, and sirens. There was a loud HAPPY NEW YEAR shouted from many voices into the night air. I will never forget that moment when everywhere, everyone in town rejoiced at the coming new year and sounds of revelry filled the air.
For many the new year began with the knock of a tall dark person, crossing the threshold to bring a lucky year. New Year’s Day was also a day of celebration with loads of food, visiting and good humour!
My New Year’s eves changed over the years …. As I became a young adult with dances at the local dancing hotspot and sharing with friends; to parties at friends homes as a married couple and to making the event meaningful to grandchildren left in my charge for the evening taking up residence in the town square to hear the ringing of the midnight bells. No matter the changes, it still occasioned a midnight call to family members far and wide to wish a Happy New Year.
I know today we could not fire a gun into the air (albeit with blank cartridges); we would be arrested so that part of the celebration has gone; as has the metal pots and pans. The celebrations have become glamorous and expensive affairs in many communities with dining and dancing events. Many cities around host new year’s eve gatherings in city squares….many people opt to stay at home preferring not to fight traffic and inebriated drivers.
For me, the magic of the first new year’s eve of my youth remains. Somehow; whether it was the festivities or the association with friends and family; the beginning of the new year always held a vision of hope and a bright and happy future for the coming year. Perhaps, it was just the fantasy of youth. Whatever it was and however you celebrate I lift my glass to you in celebration …. Happy New Year to you and yours and may the new year find you in the embrace of good health, prosperity, love and the company of cherished family and friends.
And – a resolution for the coming year …. accept whatever comes with faith, love and good humour --- whether it is your turn to be the pigeon or the statue!