Can you believe it? 2014 is less than two week away. As you know, countries around the world have been celebrating the start of each new year for thousands of years. Today, most New Year’s festivities begin on December 31 (Old Years Day, as we say in Trinidad), the last day on your calendar, and continue into the early hours of January 1st (New Year’s Day). My research has taught me that at New Year’s Eve parties and celebrations around the world, revellers enjoy meals and snacks thought to bestow good luck for the coming year.
For example, in Spain and several other Spanish-speaking countries, people bolt down a dozen grapes—symbolising their hopes for the months ahead—right before midnight. In many parts of the world, traditional New Year’s dishes feature legumes, which are thought to resemble coins and herald future financial success. In Italy, they prepare dishes using lentils, while meals with black-eyed peas are cooked in the southern United States. Pigs represent progress and prosperity in some cultures; pork appears on the New Year’s Eve table in Cuba, Austria, Hungary, Portugal and other countries.
Ring-shaped cakes and pastries are a sign that the year has come full circle and round out the feasts in the Netherlands, Mexico and Greece. In Sweden and Norway however, rice pudding with an almond hidden inside is served on New Year’s Eve, and it is said that whoever finds the nut can expect 12 months of good fortune.
As a child, I remember ringing in the new year with the dreaded extra-long church service with family, and then returning home to devour the yummy black eye peas pelau.
Traditionally, New Years Eve is spent with family, friends and loved ones at home or in church. Today, we have the options of jetting off to an island destination, attending lavish all-inclusive parties at many of this country’s leading hotels, or hosting your own house parties with family, friends and loved ones. My suggestion to you is to create a party to remember right in your own home, one that your family, friends and neighbours will be talking about way into the new year.
If you think it’s too much to handle on your own, invite your neighbours or other family members to contribute to it, each bringing a different dish. You have nothing to lose, you could make it into a theme party, or just have a festive event with all the trimmings. Yes, go overboard with flowers, banners, sparkles, top hats, tiaras, party whistles, party favours, music, games and a firework display for all your guests.
Maybe in addition to the traditional black eye peas pelau, you can have a lavish menu with suckling pig, roast, turkey, stuffing, scalloped potatoes, pastelles, black cake, punch a creme, sorrel, ginger beer, champagne, sparkling wine, sparkling cider, non-acoholic punches, bite sized appetisers, dips and desserts. Please remember to make your parties kids friendly because children get excited about the big night as well.
Tips for New Year’s Eve home
– Transform your Christmas tree into a resolution tree. Invite your guest to write goals about health, exercise etc on small note cards and tie to branches with pieces of ribbon.
– Take and send photos and videos of the entire event and e-mail copies to all guests.
– Include neighbours and friends in the planning process.
– Ensure your parties are family-friendly to include your children.
– Menus should include meals for vegetarians and children also.
– Send your guests home with party favours, such as small plants, or flower seeds to plant in the new year.
The best part of hosting your own party is turning the left overs into a nice brunch on New Year’s morning. This being my final article for 2013, I want to say a heartfelt thank you for all the support, love and kindness of my readers and fans of Lismoore Drapery & Interiors. I look forward to serving you in the new year. Have a happy, healthy and abundant 2014 to all... Enjoy!
Lisa Moore is the owner of
Lismoore Drapery & Interiors and a Member of the Window Covering
Association of America (WCAA)
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