Stock Watch 12.30.11 ” History of the Eve”

While many of you will be inebriated from libation consumption Saturday night. There is a reason most of the world celebrates that way at the turn of the year. Besides, what would a watchlist be without a little history lesson on the origins of New Years.

It’s believed that the ancient Romans celebrated the entry to January in honor of the wine god Janus,( Just like the Mutual Fund co) who January was named after. They did this with a celebration of ” Saturnalia” where they dropped all religious and personal morals for the evening. The Romans believed that a Saturnalia was sort of a moral ” hall pass’ and all sins would be erased the following day. Hence why they did this on the last day of the year. That way they could be free of sin to start the New Year. Those Romans were crafty people.

Other New Years Facts:

  • New Year is the oldest of all holidays, as it was first observed in ancient Babylon as many as 4000 years ago.
  • The Roman senate declared January 1 as the New Year in 153 BC. It was Julius Caesar who again declared January 1 in Julian calendar as the New Year, in 46 BC.
  • The Romans began a tradition of exchanging gifts on New Year’s Eve, by giving one another branches from sacred trees, for good fortune.
  • In Britain, when the Big Ben clocks strikes 12, everyone gathers around to sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’, a Scottish song.
  • It was once believed that the first visitor on New Year’s Day would bring either good luck or bad luck for the rest of the year, depending on who he/she was
  • Many cultures believe that anything given or taken on New Year, in the shape of a ring is good luck, because it symbolizes “coming full circle”.
  • Traditionally, it was thought that people could alter the luck they would have throughout the coming year by what they did or ate on the first day of the year. It has, therefore, become important to celebrate first day of the New Year in the company of family and friends.
  • The tradition of using a baby to signify the new year was begun in Greece around 600 BC. It was their tradition at that time to celebrate their god of wine, Dionysus, by parading a baby in a basket, representing the annual rebirthof that god as the spirit of fertility. Early Egyptians also used a baby as a symbol of rebirth.
  •  Other Cultures:

    England– In Britain the tradition says that the first guest on the New Year must be male, carrying gifts for the master of the house.

    Wales – In Wales the back door is opened with the first toll of the bell and then shut to release bad omens from the last year. With the 12th stroke of the bell the front door is open to welcome New Year.

    Spain – In Spain, people will eat 12 grapes with each stroke of the bell. This is said to bring good luck for the coming 12 months.

    Japan – In Japan people decorate their homes with pine branch, bamboo stalk and plum blossom which symbolizes longevity, prosperity and nobility respectively.

    Denmark : It is pretty surprising to find the door heaped with pile of broken dishes on New Year in Denmark. Throughout the year people save all the old dishes and then throw them at the entrance of the homes on the New Year eve. It is believed that the number of broken dishes you have is how many friends you have

    India : Ploughing is an important part of New Year celebration. In some parts of India New Year celebration is marked with the beginning of the harvest session.

    China :The traditional Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar and it may fall between January 1 and February 19. The Chinese New Year celebrations last for 10-15 days. Some of the different ways to express joy is by playing drums, setting off fireworks and beating the cymbals. The Chinese believe that it wades off the evil spirits and brings fortune. People exchange red envelopes with gold coins in it as a symbol of good luck.


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