Dec 312012

So we come to New Year’s 2013, surviving the (pseudo) Maya Apocalypse, going to the brink with the fiscal cliff in the United States and now lurching into a another year. I’ve been busy with friends and family (finally getting my brother to leave his live-aboard life on a boat in Key West for once and visit New York). Whatever you are doing this evening, I wish you peace and happiness in 2013.

A couple of things from around the Web on this New Year’s 2013 . . . .

Unusual Celebrations

The world abounds in unusual New Year’s celebrations – no, it isn’t all fireworks in Sydney or ball dropping in Times Square – and here’s a list of some of the stranger things that people do. From celebrating in a cemetery (Chile), torching scarecrows, a completely bizarre TV show in Germany (Dinner for One), wearing polka dots in the Philippines, to leaving mistletoe under pillows in Ireland, there’s bound to be something you haven’t done here. Details at smashinglists.

New Year's Eve Cemetery Celebrations in Chilie

New Year’s Eve Cemetery Celebrations in Chile

New Year’s 2013 in Times Square

The Atlantic magazine has an interesting piece on why we watch an 11,875 pound ball drop on New Year’s Eve in New York. Originally celebrations took place at Trinity Church downtown but moved up to the newly renamed Times Square once the New York Times built its headquarters there. Yes, it’s a media event that has its roots in one of the most venerable of media institutions. Historically, newspapers did much more than simply report the news (hint to management as they enter yet another year with dim prospects).

New York Times Building in the New Times Square

New York Times Building in the New Times Square

We Could Do better

Finally, a riff on New Year’s celebrations also from the Atlantic and via Andrew Sullivan in the Daily Dish. Yes, if there is one thing about New Year’s in America, it’s that we could do so much better. For a country that draws people from cultures all over the world, a world rich in different forms of celebration, our New Year’s seems to be one of the lamest of holidays:

On December 31, mediocre restaurants throughout America string absurd velvet ropes outside their doors, inflate black and white balloons as decoration, and charge three times the usual price for the same old fare plus bad champagne. Is it any wonder that our elders, as they grow older and wiser, opt to stay home and turn in before midnight? America’s most iconic New Year’s Eve celebration, the one that captures the attention of the whole country, has massive crowds gathering in New York City’s most garish neighborhood, where they watch a large ball drop as C-list celebrities narrate on TV. The typical NYC dweller can’t be lured to Times Square for dinner on an ordinary evening, so I can’t imagine how pre-New Year’s conversations go for those who attend. “Would you like to stand out in the freezing cold for hours with no place to sit or use the bathroom and drunks pressed against you on all sides?” 

So my wish for New Year’s 2013 – that we have a more global perspective. Technology is surely pushing us this way, but we could do our part to move it along instead of waiting to be pushed another step forward.

So think outside your national and cultural borders this year – they become ever more porous as technology transforms the way we communicate, share and interact with each other. If you do, we’ll all benefit.


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