Ring in 2020 With These NYE Traditions 744

The evening’s script is pretty much the same wherever you’re celebrating New Year’s in America.  People dressing up in their best clothes, popping bottles of champagne, singing “Auld Lang Syne”,  kissing a loved one and fireworks at the stroke of midnight.  But how exactly did these traditions begin?

New Year’s was first celebrated 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylon. Although the Babylonians did not have a written calendar, historians determined that they observed the start of the new year during the vernal equinox in mid-March and history states that they celebrated with an eleven-day festival named Akitu was held that would probably put our current parties to shame. The Roman calendar went through a number of changes as different emperors came to power. It wasn’t until Julius Caesar took the throne in 49 B.C. that the calendar was adjusted so that January falls where it does today.

From popping open a bottle of champagne to watching the ball drop in Times Square, here are the roots of a few most popular New Year’s Eve traditions.

Making a resolution


Making New Year’s resolutions dates back at least to the time of Ancient Babylonia where people made public spoken resolutions. The resolutions were required as a way pf making an oath to the king, and were considered essential to keep the kingdom in the gods’ favor.  For centuries, the act of making resolutions in many cultures has represented a purifying ritual that allows one to repent for their overindulgence.  everybody is going to eat and drink to excess, “and then the next day you’ll wake up and hopefully you’ll have your resolutions to do the next year better.” In present day making a resolution is a tradition where someone makes a resolution change an undesired trait or bad behavior, sets out to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise make improvements to their life.

 

Kissing a loved one


Puckering up at the stroke of midnight is a tradition with ancient roots. Many cultures considered the transition from the warm to the cold seasons to be an intensely vulnerable time, when evil spirits could run amok. According to English and German folklore, the first person you encounter in a new year sets the tone for the rest of the year. A kiss is about strengthening ties you wish to maintain in the future. Kissing the person you love shores up that relationship in the year to come.  If a couple celebrating together doesn’t take the time to lock lips, the relationship could be doomed.

 

Champagne toasts


Champagne has a lavish history dating back to the 16th century. Long before we started drinking bubbly to ring in the new year, European aristocrats were popping bottles at their royal parties.
Only the rich and elite drank champagne at the time because it was so expensive.  Eventually, winemakers started developing the technology to bottle carbonated wine.
The price of champagne declined and producers started marketing it to common folk in the 1800s. Champagne quickly became the ultimate New Year’s celebration beverage when the producers of Champagne started to link the bubbly to festive occasions in popular advertising campaigns. Since the wine was long associated with nobility, ads sold it to new customers as an aspiration to drink on special occasions. Champagne is now synonymous with marking any big moments in life.

 

“Auld lang syne”


“Auld Lang Syne,” is a poem that was written and combined with a traditional folk song by Robert Burns in 1788.  In English, the literal translation of Auld Lang Syne is “old long times,” but it means something more along the lines of “once upon a time.” The nostalgic tune soon became a mainstay at British and Scottish funerals, farewells and group celebrations. It didn’t make it across the pond as a New Year’s tradition until 1929. It is said that in 1929, Lombordo and his band were playing for a New Year’s Eve party in New York City, and at the stroke of midnight they played Auld Lang Syne. The band’s dispersal of the song soon spread to the radio and TV as their New Year’s Eve piece and this was the start of a new worldwide New Year tradition.

 

Ball drop

 

 

 

 

In the United States, the most iconic New Year’s tradition is the dropping of a giant ball in Times Square at the stroke of midnight. Millions of people around the world watch the event, which has taken place almost every year since 1907. Since the first ball drop, there have been seven balls, according to the Times Square Alliance. Over time, the ball has grown from a 700-pound iron-and-wood ball to a brightly patterned orb approximately 12 feet in diameter, weighing about 12,000 pounds and adorned with thousands of crystals and lights.

 

Fireworks


Most people love a good firework display and others never need an excuse to make something explode
People around the world ring in the new year with noisemakers, sparklers and fireworks. In some cultures people bang drums and run wildly into the corners of their room to spook the spooky creatures lurking in the night. “Noisemaking” and fireworks on New Year’s eve is believed to have originated in ancient times, when noise and fire were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck. The Chinese are credited with inventing fireworks and use them in every New Year’s celebrations.

 

Other Traditions found around the world
While there are some commonalities across the world, almost every culture has its unique take on the new year. Here are a few interesting traditions:

In Mexico, many people may eat one grape for every chime of the church bells at midnight.
Aztecs used to burn all of their mats during the new year, as fire was considered cleansing.
The English have a tradition of leaving money out on their porch to be purified.
The Swiss will drop rich dollops of whipped cream to the floor and leave them there to usher in riches.
The Turks wear red underwear, run the faucet and sprinkle salt on their doorsteps to ensure prosperity.

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Bellport High School Robotics Team Attends First LI TECH Challenge Qualifier 50

Bellport High School’s Bellport Clippers Team 12899 participated in the FIRST Long Island TECH Challenge qualifier, a robotics competition, held at William Floyd High School on Jan. 11. Under the direction of high school technology teacher Jaime Canjura and alumnus Brian Larkin, the 11-member robotics team competed against 21 Long Island teams from Suffolk and Nassau counties.

FIRST Tech Challenge teams are challenged to design, build, program and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge each year. The team’s next competition will be held on Feb. 2 at the Long Island School for The Gifted in Huntington.

Since the 2018-19 school year, the team has doubled in size and hopes to continue growing due to the interest of incoming eighth grade students participating in the Bellport Middle School FIRST Lego League.

“The team’s philosophy is to inspire students to be and do their best,” Mr. Canjura explained. “We follow the concept of Gracious Professionalism, a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.”

The South Country Central School District extends team members Joseph Balsamo (lead software engineer and programmer), Jake D’Esposito (programmer and IT), Robert Gronenthal (secretary and robot chassis designer), Isaiah James (team president and lead designer), Chris Lannon, Thomas Miller (treasurer), Ainesis Reid (media, marketing and programming), Soteria Reid (media and marketing specialist), Antonio Suarez (mechanical hardware technician and designer trainee), Jack Stark (mechanical hardware technician and designer trainee) and Michael Vengroski (team captain and lead designer) best wishes for success.

Photo caption: Members of Bellport High School’s Bellport Clippers Team 12899 held their robot designed for the FIRST robotics competitions.

Photo courtesy of the South Country Central School District

 

Raise Your Bar Serving These New Year’s Eve Cocktails 578

Blood Orange Gin Punch Recipe

Get the party started with this simple cocktail, this modern take on a classic screwdriver is an easy-drinking crowd-pleaser. To keep the party moving, put it in a punch bowl and let your guests serve themselves.

Recipe Serves 10

Shopping List
⅓ cup cane sugar
5 sprigs organic fresh rosemary
11 or 12 organic blood oranges
1¾ cups gin
1¼ cups prosecco
5 cups ice

Tools
Peeler, punch bowl, small sauce pot

1. Make the simple syrup
In a small sauce pot, combine 1½ cups water and sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add 3 rosemary sprigs and bring to a boil (set aside the remaining 2 sprigs for serving). Remove from the heat and let steep until cool, about 30 minutes.

Discard the rosemary. Measure ½ cup simple syrup; save any remaining simple syrup for another use.

2. Prep the orange wheels and twists; mix the cocktail

  • Cut 1 blood orange in half, then cut one half crosswise into thin slices. Do not remove the peel; discard any seeds. Reserve the other orange half for juicing.
  • Using a peeler, remove the zest in 2-inch-long strips from the blood oranges, being careful to remove only the outermost orange layer and leave behind the bitter white pith. You’ll want 1 strip per serving, or 8 to 10 total.
  • Juice enough oranges to measure 3¾ cups.
  • Cut the remaining rosemary sprigs into 1-inch pieces and set aside for garnish.
  • In a punch bowl, combine the orange juice, gin, prosecco, simple syrup, and 1 cup ice. Stir until well incorporated, then add blood orange rounds.

Serve
Set out rocks glasses and the remaining ice and invite everyone to make their own cocktail, garnishing with an orange twist and a rosemary sprig.

Tip: To save time, make the simple syrup the night before; let cool and refrigerate in an airtight glass jar. If you prefer a nonalcoholic cocktail, skip the gin and prosecco, increase the amount of orange juice, and add a splash of soda water or iced tea just before serving.

Recipe & Photo courtesy of SunBasket

 

Giggle Juice

Giggle Juice is delicious combination of moscato, lemonade, and vodka that is sure have all your family and friends laughing.

Recipe Serves 8

Shopping List

Ice
Lemons
Sugar
1 (750-ml) bottle moscato
3 c. pink lemonade
1 can lemon-lime soda
1 c. vodka
2 c. sliced strawberries

Tools
Pitcher, stirrer, glasses, knife, plate for sugar
1. Rim glasses with lemon wedge and dip in sugar.
2. In a large pitcher, stir together moscato, pink lemonade, soda, vodka, and fruit. Add ice and stir to combine.
3. Divide among glasses and serve
Recipe & Photo courtesy of Delish

 

Kombucha-Campari Spritz 

The fermented tea everyone’s drinking has recently made its debut as a cocktail mixer. When you think about, that makes a lot of sense. Kombucha is tart, fizzy, and a little bit funky, just the thing to mix with your favorite spirits. Here pair ginger kombucha with Campari for a low-alcohol drink you can sip all night.

Recipe Serves 2

 

Shopping List
1 organic lemon
2 ounces Campari
2 cups ice
4 ounces ginger kombucha

Tools
Cocktail shaker, medium frying pan

1. Char the lemon garnish
Cut the lemon in half crosswise, then cut half into thin rounds; save the remaining half for another use. In a dry medium frying pan over medium-high heat, add the lemon rounds and cook, turning once, until fragrant and lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

2. Make the Campari spritz 
In a cocktail shaker, add the Campari and half the ice. Shake well, about 30 seconds.

Serve
Fill two rocks glasses with the remaining ice. Strain the Campari into the glass and top off with as much kombucha as you like. Garnish each glass with a charred lemon slice and serve.

Recipe & Photo courtesy of SunBasket

 

Moscow Mule Recipe

A Moscow mule is actually very easy to make. It only has three ingredients: vodka, ginger beer, and lime. We like to garnish it with mint, but it’s not necessary.

Recipe Serves 2

 

Shopping List

Ice
2 oz. vodka
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. (12-oz.) can ginger beer
Lime wedges, for garnish
Mint (optional for additional garnish)

 

Tools
Cooper mugs, Stirrers, knife

1.Fill two copper mugs with ice. Pour 1 ounce vodka and 1/2 ounce lime juice over ice in each mug. Pour ginger beer into each cup until mostly full. Stir.
2. Garnish with mint and lime wedge to serve.

Throwing a Party and don’t want to play bartender all night?  Serve this Moscow Mule punch- which is basically one giant Moscow mule.

Shopping List
4 c. ice
4 c. ginger beer
3 c. vodka
1 c. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 c. mint leaves, plus more for garnish
limes, sliced, plus more for garnish
Tools
Punch bowl, Ladle, Cooper mugs, Stirrers, knife

1. In a large punch bowl, combine ice, ginger beer, vodka, lime juice, lime slices, and mint
2. Ladle punch into glasses or copper mugs and garnish with more mint.

Recipe & Photo courtesy of Delish

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