Today is New Year's Eve, the last day of the year.
In Mexico, people eat one grape with each of the 12 clock chimes at midnight, and make a wish for the coming year. In Venezuela, they wear yellow underwear for a year of good luck. In Japan, people eat soba because long thin noodles symbolize longevity, and at midnight, temple bells ring 108 times, matching the 108 attachments in the mind that need to be purified before the New Year.
At midnight in Greece, families cut a cake called a vasilopita, which has a coin baked inside; whoever gets the coin will have a lucky year.
In this country, the most famous celebration is in New York City's Times Square, where up to one million people gather each New Year's Eve to watch a ball drop.
I have celebrated in many different ways throughout my life...wow I sound old. We have had simple gatherings with friends in the early years before the kids... with not much money. We played board games and made popcorn and onion dip. Pop was the beverage of choice. When our kids were little, we stayed home having snacks and letting the kids stay up until midnight. They always wanted to do this, but most of the time they fell asleep on the floor and had to be carried to bed. Later on, when the kids were growing up, we went out to fancy restaurants and brought in the New Year with loud noisemakers and crazy people. One year we went to the Hyatt House in Chicago and partied with people that my husband worked with. We made a weekend out of it and enjoyed the entertainment that the hotel offered. The Four Lads helped us bring in the New Year. We had parties with our whole family....a brother's band would entertain and I'm sure we bothered the neighbors. Then as we got older, we stayed home and watched the New Year's Eve celebration at Time Square....going to the front door and banging pots and pans with our neighbors. We would shoot off some firecrackers and go to bed. Then after my husband died...I would buy some little bottles of wine and put a party hat on my cocker, Maggie... lonely New Year's Eves then. My hubby, today, was in the same boat. We were emailing at the time and sent each other an email to wish each other better years ahead. Now that we are married, we try to really enjoy the New Year's Eves that we have left. We go out to a favorite restaurant for a special meal, come home early and turn on the Christmas lights and candles. I make snacks early in the day and we eat them and maybe have a glass of wine, while we watch ...usually...PBS until the midnight doings in New York. We know what it is like to be alone on New Year's Eve, after all the years of fun that we had with our families. While we are here...we will try to make this a special night.