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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on December 27th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 42 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 42

How are you ringing in 2013?

The start of anything new is often a great time to celebrate and to take some time to acknowledge that change is about to happen. Since starting a whole new year is one of the biggest “new” things we do, it’s no wonder there are so many ways to celebrate and mark this annual change.

How does your family celebrate the New Year? In Mexico, people eat one grape for every chime of the clock or bell at midnight, making a wish for the New Year with each one. Pan dulce (sweet bread) is also baked with a charm or coin inside so that whoever gets the piece that has the coin is thought to have good luck for the coming year. In Belgium on Jan. 1 (Nieuwjaarsdag in Dutch), children read their “New Year’s letter” and give holiday greeting cards of decorated paper featuring golden cherubs and angels, colored roses and ribbon-tied garlands to parents and godparents.  Belgian farmers also wish their animals a happy New Year. In Japan, the New Year is a time to prepare for the New Year god whose name is Toshigami. People clean their homes for the god and Buddhist temples ring their bells 108 times at midnight to help prevent bad choices and bad behavior in the coming year.

In the United States, it’s the tradition to turn on our TVs and watch the “ball drop” in New York City’s Times Square. Dropping “Time Balls” were done on dry land so sailors at sea could set their own ship clocks once the ball started dropping. Since 1907, New York has been the unofficial center of the New Year in the United States, and a million people every year watch the ball drop in person; it’s expected that more than 1 billion people watch it on TVs around the world.

All of us at the Discovery Museum wish you a happy New Year and hope you and your family have a wonderful time celebrating and enjoying your own, special traditions.

Discovery Corner is a weekly column in the Sun, highlighting events, science activities, and more for the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum at 705 S. McClelland in Santa Maria. Send comments to discoverycorner@santamariasun.com.