Happy New Year Everyone!

Goodbye 2022 and hello 2023. We’re ready for you. Not as ready as we are for 2024 (when we elect a new president), but it’s a step in the right direction. We had a good year here Patriot’s Cave and we couldn’t have done it without the support of everyone out there in the Patriot’s Cave community. Because we’re so grateful, we like to ring in the New Year with you, and we’re going to do it by delving into the meaning behind and the origin of some classic New Year’s traditions. Here is your chance to finally find out what Auld Lang Syne actually means…

Let’s start out with the traditions in which we partake on New Year’s Eve. Yeah, we be up in the club poppin’ bottles of bub. Whether it’s Dom Perignon, Asti Spumante, or anything in between, sipping Champagne (or sparkling white wine if it’s not from the Champagne region of France) is how many people bring in the New Year. Since the 16th Century, aristocrats have imbibed champagne at parties and festive occasions. By the 1800s the price of champagne had declined and producers started marketing it to common folk, who couldn’t afford to drink it regularly, but were able to enjoy it on special occasions – like New Year’s Eve.

Next up: smooching. The origins of the New Year’s kiss aren’t completely clear, but this tradition likely traces back to an ancient winter festival that involved public drunkenness (that sounds familiar). According to both English and German folklore, the NYE kiss portends what type of luck a person will have for the rest of the year, depending on who they are kissing at midnight. More recently, the New Year’s kiss seems to just be part of tradition, though we are fans of the saying, “Kiss the person you hope to keep kissing.”

This next one is for those of us who aren’t out in the club sippin’ bub but instead are at home having a rockin’ NYE watching TV. You know we’re watching the ball drop in Times Square. The ball has been lowered every year since 1907 with the exceptions of 1942-1943 due to wartime “dimouts” of the lights in New York City. The first NYE ball was made of iron and was illuminated with 25-watt bulbs. The current iteration is lit by LEDs and encrusted with Waterford crystal triangles. Americans who tune in to watch the ball drop (or those who are watching in person in Times Square) begin their countdown to the new year at 11:59pm.

The very beginning of a new year is the right time to ward off evil spirits, and that’s the origin of some other popular NYE traditions. Noisemakers sounded at midnight discourage evil spirits and bad intentions to help you start the new year on the right foot. Fireworks on New Year’s Eve date back to China in the seventh century A.D., and like noisemakers they were meant to scare off evil spirts. They also said to bring prosperity and good luck. We’ll take a heaping helping of all of that and we wish the same for you, too.

Next up: “Auld Lang Syne”, which is traditionally sung after the champagne has been popped and the ball has been dropped (and that cutie has been kissed). The words translate to “old long since”, which means “for old time’s sake”. The song is attributed to Scotsman Robert Burns, though actually the poet was just the first to write down an old Scottish folk song. What we sing today is a combination of an old poem and any creative license taken by Burns’ when he put pen to paper. The lyrics are about raising a glass (or a cup) in the spirit of good will, friendship, and kind regard in remembrance of good deeds. “Auld Lang Syne” symbolizes beginnings and endings, which is why it has become a quintessential New Year’s Eve tradition.

After a night of ushering in the new year, many people pause for a moment to set some resolutions for the next 365 days. Making New Year’s resolutions dates back to thousands of years. For ancient Babylonians, the new year coincided with the start of crop planting season and a common resolution was the returning of borrowed farm equipment. The ancient Roman New Year started January 1; January was named for the two-faced Roman god, Janus, who looks forward to new beginnings as well as backwards for reflection and resolution. Common New Year’s practices included making promises of good behavior for the coming year and offering sacrifices to the god Janus. In the Middle Ages, Medieval knights would renew their vow to chivalry annually at the start of each year. By the 17th century, New Year’s resolutions were common and as was breaking said resolutions and finding humor in the resolution cycle (make new resolutions in January, then proceed to break them as the months progressed). The first recorded use of the phrase “New Year resolution” was from a Boston newspaper in 1813, “And yet, I believe there are multitude of people accustomed to receive injunctions of new year resolutions, who will sin all the month of December, with a serious determination of beginning the new year with new resolutions and new behavior, and with the full belief that they shall thus expiate and wipe away all their former faults.” Resolutions in the early 1900s tended to be religious or spiritual and involved commitments towards developing a stronger moral character or work ethic, as well as more restraint to the temptations of earthly pleasures. Resolutions today tend to focus on general self-improvement and losing weight/getting in shape. Everyone knows there is a boom in new gym memberships in January…

Eating a traditional meal on New Year’s Day in the hopes that it will bring good luck or fortune is a custom practiced around the world. In the Southern United States, the typical New Year’s Day meal consists of black-eyed peas, greens, pork, and cornbread. Beans or peas symbolize coins or wealth, greens resembled folded money, pork is considered a sign of prosperity because pigs root forward when foraging, and cornbread represents gold. A meal of Hoppin’ John (black-eyed peas, pork, and rice) along with collard greens and cornbread is a delicious way to start off the New Year.

Before Time Square was the spot to be on NYE in NYC, those wishing to welcome the New Year gathered farther downtown at Trinity Church on Wall Street to ring in the new year by listening to the church bells peal. Those bells also served to call worshipers to service on the first day of the New Year. Bells have long been used to celebrate beginnings and commemorate endings, and the ringing bells on New Year’s Day helps to welcome and usher in the new year.

Our resolutions include voting red, supporting liberty and freedom, and standing against wokeness and the move toward socialism. We’re eating an extra helping of food that brings good luck and we are looking forward to a great 2023, thanks to everyone out in the Patriots Cave community. We appreciate that you are starting your new year off with us.

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