Celebrating New Year: A historical saga

The New Year is here again and people are all set to welcome it with a lot of anticipation, joy and zest. But what many of us don’t know is that the New Year is one of the oldest festivals of the world, dating back to the pre historic era. January 1, as it is celebrated in the present day is relatively a new phenomenon. If we look into the history of New Year, we will find that a series of changes has affected it to get to its present global form. The urge of celebrating New Year as a vibrant festivity emerged at the dawn of civilization. This becomes one of the principal reasons for New Year traditions to vary from country to country. It is believed that the earliest New Year celebrations have been in Mesopotamia in 2000 BC. A lot of other dates are also associated with it in other ancient cultures.
New Year traditional stories
A lot of people agree to the popular belief that what we do on the first day of the New Year affects the entire year. Some other common ones are:
One popular belief is to kiss your beloved and your dear ones at the stroke of midnight conveying warmth, affection and care.
You should settle and clear all your unsettled amounts and unpaid debts as it is not good for a New Year to begin with. Make sure to deal with all money settlements before the old year closes.
It is auspicious to begin the New Year by wearing brand new clothes which ensures a steady flow of new clothes the entire year, adding jazz to your wardrobe.
You should greet the New Year by making loud noises. Not only would you enjoy doing that, but also it is believed that it scares away evil spirits thus ensuring you have a hassle free New Year.
Paying back loans or lending money to anyone on January 1 is not a good option as it indicates that you shall be paying all year long and money would be flowing out instead of coming in.
Babies born on January 1 are believed to be lucky and have prosperity on their side.
Avoid breaking things on the New Year day as it indicates that ‘wreck’ will be your companion for the rest of the year.
Being happy and cheerful on the first day of the year is also recommended as it ensures a cheerful year ahead.

Celebrating New Year in different parts of the world

In Russia, amongst the most popular New Year symbols is a New Year’s Tree called Novogodnaya Yolka that is topped with a bright star and decorated with various sweets. New Year presents are kept under the New Year Tree. The most important part of the New Year activities is the sumptuous dinner with light music and champagne. The most important meals consist of meat, green peas, pickles, mayonnaise, onion, carrots and potatoes.
Traditions and customs make a splendid part of New Year celebrations in Europe. ‘First footing’ is a very old tradition, practiced very seriously in Europe till date. When the clock strikes at midnight, a male stranger must be the first person to enter the house. It is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity for the family. The visitor must bring with him lump of coal, bread and some salt. In Europe, people follow a custom of making noise to welcome the New Year. This is done to scare off all the bad spirits.
In the United States, New Year’s Day begins with wishing the near and dear ones ‘Happy New Year’. People visit their loved ones and sometimes go out for a picnic with them. Watching the famous Tournament of Roses Parade further accelerates New Year celebrations. Theme of the parade varies every year. There is also a New Year custom to play the most famous games of football such as the Orange Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl.
In Japan, New Year Eves see people eat Toshikoshi-soba at night. They offer prayers at midnight. It is considered highly auspicious to listen to the chimes of a temple bell. According to the Japanese religion, sound of the 108 chimes drives away all the sins and gives birth to new life.
The people of Germany welcome New Year in a merry way.
It is considered very auspicious by the people to have carp (a type of fish) or herring and toast made with champagne or sekt. Cabbage and carrots are also eaten to bring in financial stability. Lentil soup with wieners is very popular.
In Indian homes, we start the traditional way by having something sweet: Chocolate Walnut Kheer, Anjeer Date Barfi, and Sohan Halwa. More Indian sweet recipes.

Launching TYC in Kathmandu

Another Monday at the office after an exciting and joyous Christmas weekend. And the fun does not end here, it will continue now till we enter into the New Year with a bang! The celebration was really a refreshing factor amidst my traveling and touring…after all we all need a little bit play along with our work to keep it going smoothly.
Weekend was spent in fun. Kriti, my younger daughter is selected for 400 metres All India School Nationals in athletics. She is training there with kids from all over India. I’m happy about her selection and prospects and that she has adjusted well to training and camp.
As for my routine goes, lots of meetings happening. This sure will pace up as we come closer to the year end when our channel FOODFOOD finally goes on air, which means there would be more and more shoots as well. Plus, the launch of the new TYC branches opening up at various places. The Yellow Chilli chain of restaurants has already crossed the figure of two dozens in pan Indian market, soon to be opening in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia too. One is opening in Kathmandu (Blue Bird Mall, Tripureshwar). I am going there for its launch tomorrow and this venture will strengthen the Indo Nepal ties as food speaks the universal language of love.
Check out http://www.sanjeevkapoor.com for the newly added feature like the tab section on the homepage. Now we have different sections separately assigned for various recipes along with the shopping section. It allows easier browsing and you can find your favourites even more quickly without going through the entire recipe list. It also gives you the option of the types of recipes and so this becomes pretty convenient and more user friendly.
Meanwhile, check out some light food using the winter bounty Spinach and Pumpkin Curry, Gajar Gobhi Shalgam ka Saag and wind up with a creamy Gur aur Akhrot ki Phirni.

More later!

Sanjeev Kapoor