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New Year's

Throughout the world, the dawn of each new year is welcomed with celebrations and is seen as a time to reflect on the year past and to consider the possibilities of the year ahead. New year doesn't fall on the same date for all cultures, however. In the US, Canada, Australia and much of Europe, as well as the UK, it takes place on January 1st. This is following the Gregorian calendar and coincides with ancient winter solstice celebrations. In China, however, a lunar calendar is followed and the new year falls on the new moon between January 22nd and February 19th. In other countries it is celebrated in the spring, when life is seen to renew itself, while others choose the autumn, the time of the harvest.

One of the most renowned January 1st new year's celebrations is that of the Scots. In Scotland the eve of the new year, December 31st, is known as Hogmanay and the night is celebrated with fireworks and festivities. From midnight onwards the tradition of 'first-footing' begins. This means a race to be the first person over the threshold of a friend or neighbour, usually bearing a symbolic gift to bring good luck to the householder, traditionally, salt, coal, shortbread, whisky or fruitcake. A similar tradition of gift giving on the first day of the new year exists in Wales, where it's called Calennig. Another Scottish tradition, which has migrated to many countries now, is the singing of Auld Lang Syne at midnight. This was a traditional poem rewritten by the famous Scottish poet, Robert Burns and later set to music. In literal translation to modern English, the title is ?old long since? but it means something like 'long ago' or 'times gone by'. The beginning goes like this:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne ?

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we?ll tak a cup o? kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Here's a link to the music if you want to practice!
Happy New Year from Clare Florist ? looking forward to all the good things to come in 2008!

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