Of all the traditions that are celebrated on this day around the world, I think the Polar Bear Club's annual dip into freezing cold water on January 1 has to be tops. (Lest you think this is a phenomenon confined to the Northern states, we do have one here in LA. The Pacific Ocean is still pretty darn cold here!) What a brilliant idea: inaugurating the new year with a cleansing swim in very very cold water!
It's similar in concept to the Spanish tradition of tossing a pan of water out the back door of one's house at the stroke of midnight. In other words, throwing out the previous year in order to start fresh with a new one.
There is another Spanish tradition that HH and I usually follow, although we didn't this year because we were at a friend's house playing "Rock Band" (oh yeah, you ain't seen nothing 'til you see a bunch of adults rockin' out to their oldie faves). At midnight we would eat twelve grapes and throw a 13th grape out the window while making a wish. Why the grapes? Why the wish on a commonly-regarded "unlucky" number? And why do we keep throwing things outside? I have no idea. It's one of those things that came with HH and since he never questioned his parents, he has no idea of its origins either.
One of my favorite definitions of a new year's resolution comes from Wikipedia, naturally. Here it is. Whoever contributed to this entry noted the inclusion of responsibility when making the resolution. It's a time when individuals take personal responsibility for changes: losing weight, quitting smoking, being a better person (again, what does that mean???). I know millions of people - perhaps many of those people blogging and writing Happy New Year in the post titles right now - will ultimately fail to follow through on their resolutions and many of them will feel bad for having done so. But they shouldn't: they should just get back up and try again - on another new day, regardless of the date. The fact that they want to make the change is important and eventually, if they keep picking themselves back up and trying again, they will.
This New Year's I am making a resolution (among others) to stop being superstitious.
Your Hollywood connection,