New Year’s greetings in Brittany involves a generous pouring of cidre…cider…and a toast wishing everyone a Bloazevh Mat. The Welsh call their celebration Calennig and give gifts of bread and cheese. The Scots have Hogmanay and First Footing…after midnight on the 31st of December, it is hoped that the first person to cross a Scot’s threshold will have dark hair…a throwback to when those dastardly, red-headed Vikings were marauding about the countryside. It’s also hoped that this tall, dark visitor will be bringing along a wee bit of whiskey…is it any wonder that the holiday extends through the second of January in Scotland?
Like the wearing of the green on Saint Patrick’s Day, colors have their part as well…location makes a difference…in some countries it is the custom to wear red or yellow underwear to herald in the New Year in order to assure happiness and/or good fortune…while white is the color of choice in Brazil.
In Japan, the New Year begins with a thorough house cleaning. Buddhist temples sound their gong 108 times at midnight…signifying the cleansing of the 108 sins said to lurk within the mind of Man. In Spain and many Latin American countries, the celebration of the arrival of the New Year involves twelve grapes…grapes that are to be eaten one at a time with each tolling of the bell that strikes midnight. I tried it and I must say that it’s not easy to quickly swallow the twelve grapes from one hand while holding a glass of champagne in the other hand…not to mention having to do this while a husband is waiting for his kiss…
So, as I sit in my yellow underwear munching grapes, I raise my glass of champagne and wish you a 2011 that is filled with good health, happiness, and joy!
Note: I should have thought of using these wonderful vintage zinc grape clusters as place cards for our New Year’s table!
Stay tuned for more behind the scenes adventures of The Meadows Collection…or check out the results at www.meadowscollection.com