By B.John Zavrel
The world famous ice bear Knut from the Zoo in Berlin is a good theme to wish all our readers of the Internet Bulletin PROMETHEUS a happy New Year! Knut was looking for snow on the first day of 2008. He had a heavy night, since over a million people celebrated the arrival of the New Year in Berlin around the Brandenburg Gate in the German Capital. The noisy fireworks made the ice bear Knut afraid confused.
New York/Berlin/Paris/Rome/Moscow (bpb) The New Year 2008 began with good intentions, hope for peace and for personal wealth. But 2008 started also with wasting a lot of money around the world for fireworks. Socially-oriented organization criticise this waste of money, and suggest that one should not overdo the celebrations. More humanity, solidarity with the poor and involvement for freedom are needed.
People in the rich countries have spent again billions of dollars for fire works and the related celebrations. At the same time, in the undeveloped and developing countries the populations are suffering from hunger, war, danger and evil. Even in the USA and the so-called rich countries of Europe like Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy and Scandinavia many, many people do not have work and are poor.
We should remember all this at the beginning of the New Year. We should take a better care of our own society and other nations. We should engage more in charity, and in supporting arts and culture. Therefore, dear readers: look around in your own town and the area in which you live, for ideas to support worthy non-profit organizations that serve idealistic, spiritual goals, fine arts and health.
In Australia, Europe and America people got crazy and spent too much money for fireworks to welcome the New Year 2008. And it is sure, half the amount would have been more than sufficient. The money saved in this way could have been used for senseful projects in the communities.
New Year's Day has a long Tradition
In the past, the beginning of the New Year used to be celebrated on different dates throughout history. Great Britain and its colonies in America adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752. In that year, January 1st was restored as New Year's Day. The ways of celebrating differ as well, according to customs and religions of the world.
People in Moslem societies, for example, celebrate the New Year by wearing new clothes. Southeast Asians release birds and turtles, to assure themselves good luck in the twelve months ahead. Jewish people consider the day holy, and hold a religious ceremony at a meal with special foods. Hindus of India set up shrines next to their beds, so they can see beautiful objects at the start of the New Year. Japanese prepare rice cakes at a social event in the week before the New Year.
Whatever the custom, most people feel the same sentiment. With a new year, we can expect a new life. People wish each other good luck. We promise ourselves to do better in the following year.
New Year's Eve (December 31)
In the United States, the federal holiday is January 1st, but Americans also begin celebrating already on December 31. Sometimes, people still have masquerade balls, where guests dress up in costumes and cover their faces with masks. According to an old tradition, guests unmask at midnight.
At New Year's Eve parties across the United States and West Europe on December 31, many guests watch television as part of the festivities. Most of the television channels show the Times Square in the heart of New York City, or a famous city in their own country. At one minute before midnight, a lighted ball drops slowly from the top to the bottom of a pole on one of the buildings. People count down at the same time as the ball drops. When it reaches the bottom, the New Year sign is lighted. People hug and kiss, and wish each other "Happy New Year!" On the New Year's Day on January 1st, Americans visit friends, relatives and neighbors. On January 2, "business as usual" starts again.
© PROMETHEUS 127/2008
PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin - News, Politics, Art and Science. Nr. 127, January 2008