I’ve been meaning to share a charmingly illustrated 1986 publication called The Book of Holidays around the World. The author is Alice van Straaten.
Her entry for January 1 mentions the Rose Bowl Parade, of all things, and how it was launched in 1890 in imitation of the Festival of Flowers in Nice, France.
She also describes a celebration in Greece honoring St. Basil: “Children go from door to door, carrying an apple, a paper ship — or a paper star — and receive coins for singing calends, carols of good wishes for the year.”
(Kind of makes me think of going door-to-door at day camp on Fire Island with a list of scavenger-hunt needs. Of course, in that case, you’d be asking for a paper ship or an apple, not carrying items to the houses. Summer renters were very tolerant of scavenger hunts. Today, you’d probably want to do a scavenger hunt only where you knew the neighbors.)
I’ll conclude with one more tradition, highlighted on the website Watching the Swedes.
“Almost every New Year’s Eve since 1896, a well-known person has stood on the stage at a Swedish open-air museum and recited the poem ‘Ring out Wild Bells’ by Lord Alfred Tennyson written in 1850. This may seem weird, but nowadays, the event is televised and attracts a large public. Translated into Swedish, the poem is called ‘Ring Klocka Ring’ and it has a very meaningful and deep content as we leave one year and enter into another.
“Various famous people, mostly actors, have had the honour of delivering this rousing poem throughout the years. Of the 20 narrators so far, only one has been a woman. However, this year the second female narrator – popular opera singer Malena Ehrman – will take the stage.”
Art: Edmund Dulac
Father Time, featured in The Book of Holidays around the World.