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2019: Here We Go!

Many of the people I have known celebrate the New Year by hitting the clubs/pubs and drinking to excess. I've never been one for the big parties on New Year's Eve; in fact I believe the last time I went out was in 1987 with Debbie at Station Square, Pittsburgh. That night, we witnessed a man called Paddy O' Furniture (I hope this was just a clever stage name) eat a glass.

But it's a big world and everywhere, people celebrate ringing in the New Year in many different ways other than binge drinking and watching a giant disco ball drop during Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve (I said it had been a long time since I celebrated NYE).

Several New Year traditions feature, well, physical violence or aggression towards other human beings. In Ecuador and Panama, people set fire to scarecrows or effigies of celebrities. In Peru, people clear the air by fist-fighting and in Thailand people heave buckets of water at each other's faces. Irish folks express their aggression by hitting their walls with loaves of bread. I am not really sure what the people of Ireland are angry with; the walls or the bread.

Station Square, Pittsburgh

In Denmark, citizens break unused dishes against the doors of friends and relatives (they also jump out of windows at midnight, literally jumping into the new year). I suppose this could be considered violent as well if those friends and relatives then come outside to check the racket and step on the broken ceramics.

Food always plays a vital role in issuing in good luck for the new year. We always had to have pork and sauerkraut; even if you didn't like it, you had to eat it cause them's the rules. In France, they eat stacks of pancakes, Greek people eat 12 grapes at one go-I suppose one for each month of the new year, and in Bolivia, people bake money into cakes and sweets. Switzerland switzes it up a bit and does not eat but throws ice cream on the floor, but Estonia wins the prize, for their tradition is simply to over-eat.

Throwing stuff out of windows is pretty popular around the world. Puerto Ricans chase away evil spirits by throwing buckets of water out the windows. And in South Africa, people throw old furniture out of the window. In a country were the majority of the population probably doesn't own any furniture, this seems absurdly wasteful and perhaps not the best start to the year.

There are many odd fortune-telling traditions, like wearing coloured underpants (red for luck, green for money) in South America, ringing 108 bells for luck in Japan, interpreting forms made from pouring molten tin into water in Finland, sleepovers in cemeteries in Chile, to my personal favourite-thanking cows in Belgium.

So good luck and many blessings for 2019. I myself plan to follow the Columbian tradition of carrying around a suitcase in hopes of many exciting travels and adventures for the New Year!

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