Posted in Kafevend Blog

With the new year upon us and most people returning to work, we thought we might try to keep your spirits up with a compilation style blog. Having a look at some new year's traditions, we hope we can bring you to utter a chuckle or at least a half hearted "hmm" with the following!

A favourite here in the UK and abroad is the traditional TV broadcast. For Scotland, 'Hogmanay Live' and for the rest of the UK, the not quite so live 'Hootenanny' are firm favourites on New Year's Eve. More interesting however is Germany's traditional TV broadcast of a comedy sketch called "Dinner for one", which has been broadcast every New Year's Eve there since 1963. The sketch portrays the 90th birthday party of a well to do Englishwoman. She has outlived all her friends, so her butler reprises the roles of these friends to keep her entertained. She orders various drinks for them, which the butler keeps knocking back, gradually becoming rather drunk, with his movements around the table devolving into a slapstick performance. The sketch is also popular in the Nordic States as well as Australia and South Africa, but it's all but unheard of here in the UK where it was first written and performed!

When it comes to odd food traditions, the Spanish appear to have that one covered. Known as The Twelve Grapes, this tradition involves eating a grape with each toll of the bell at midnight on New Year's Eve. It is generally believed that this brings prosperity, though in some parts of the country it is used to ward off evil. The tradition has been traced back to 1895, but it was popularised when vine growers sold off their surplus in 1909.

There are also a few odd traditions connected with clothes that can be found around the globe.. Some folks take to wearing either red or yellow pants on New Year's Eve in countries in Central and South America- red pants bring you love in the new year, and yellow brings you prosperity. No doubt there are some who have made themselves a red and yellow striped pair of pants to try and capitalise on the occasion!

The one tradition that perhaps isn't always quite so popular is the new year's resolution. The practice can be traced back thousands of years to the Babylonians in the 2nd millenium B.C.E., who when celebrating during their festival of Akitu would make promises to the gods to return borrowed items and pay debts. Four thousand years on, the fact that we still make resolutions must mean there is some value to be had in them despite our grumbles after the first few weeks. If you find it tricky keeping to yours, try to break your goal down into manageable targets- meeting them every week or so makes you feel good about it and will encourage you to achieve the next one, stopping it from getting overwhelming. Share your goal with friends and family as well, and help each other to stick to them.

All the best for 2015 from the Kafevend blog!

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