Musings, Wrap-up

Book Haul

Statistics

Number of Books: 9 IMG_20180811_102028_844

Date of Acquisition: 4th August, 2018


I had a weekend trip to Bangalore last month and it was the perfect opportunity to meet some of my fellow bookstagrammers. We call ourselves the Bookdivas and have wonderful discussions on things both related and unrelated to books, authors and stories. I got to meet Anupama and Nisha and we had a great time catching up.

What is a bookstagrammer meet without book exchange and book shopping? I brought books for my buddies while they had done to same for me. I gave Anupama Agatha Christie’s The Murder on the Links to help her complete her Agatha Christie reading goals while she gave me quite a few of her review copies like Yoddha- The Dynasty of Samudragupta by Rajat Pillai, If I Had to Tell it Again by Gayathri Prabhu, Harappa Trilogy by Shankar Kashyap and When the Lion Feeds by Wilbur Smith that she had received from another Bookdiva, Chitra. I had taken The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy for Nisha but she had already read it so I gave that to Anupama as well and bought Goad Days by Benyamin for Nisha since she wanted to read more books by Malayali authors while she gave me The Wizards of Once by Cressida Coswell because I love fantasy.

We next set out to raid Blossoms Book House for more book shopping. Blossoms has been the go-to destination for all books, new and old, for decades. No trip to Bangalore is complete without a trip to Blossoms. I bought three books for myself keeping in mind the space constraints of storing them all. I had always wanted to read Salman Rushdie so I bought Shalimar the Clown. Book Thief by Markus Zusak had been on my TBR since a long time so I bought that as well. I had been feeling that I should read more of classics so I also bought Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I thought I would be meeting another member of the Bookdivas group, Unnati while in Bangalore so I had bought for her Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman which I will now keep for myself because I love mythology.

I haven’t bought physical copies of books in a long time and it felt good lugging those books across town. I wish book sales come back to my city like they used to when I was young. But I now have a large number of physical book copies thanks review requests, my birthday book mails and books sent across by Chitra and I look forward to reading them all. I also look forward to meeting the other Bookdivas, the ones that I haven’t mentioned- Sneha and Jaanaki.


What was your recent book haul like?

How do you manage to find the space to store all of them?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

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Book review, Musings, Wrap-up

Wrap-up of my ‘Women Centric March’ reads

statistics

Total number of books: 10

Start date: March 1st, 2018

End date: March 31th, 2018

Highest rating: 5/5 stars

Lowest rating: 2/5 stars

Best book: A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena


People who know me, know that I am a feminist. Always have been, always will be. So it was great to see people on Bookstagram start readathons and make special hashtags (#femmemarch by @thebooksatchel and #femmemarchfest by @theliquidsunset to name a few) for the month of March to celebrate Women’s Day. I tried to read books written by female authors or books with strong female characters throughout the month and here is a wrap-up of them.

  1. Surrealist Awakenings by Amanda Fleet. (3/5 stars)

I received this book from Olympia Publishers and was very excited to read it. I love quirky retellings of old stories and this promised to have stories from Greek mythology to popular fairy tales. Although I am still not sure if I liked the book, it definitely did deliver in the ‘quirky’ department.

2. Twenty-nine Going on Thirty by Andaleeb Wajid (3.5/5 stars)

I received this book from Penguin Random House Publishers. It is a story of four girls in their late twenties and the judgement that they face from the society. It was very relatable and was perfect for raising women empowerment issues in the month of March. It spoke of how single women are expected to behave in a certain way and how it is important for women to support each other and pull each other up. It only lost points because of the lack of research from the author.

3. Kansa by Prassanth Kevin (3/5 stars)

Although it isn’t written by a female author, it featured Saargi Desai, a strong, smart and beautiful police woman who is loyal to her country. It is great to see Indian writing that shows a public service officer in a positive light. Where women are stereotyped and corrupt officers are the norm, it was wonderful to read about a woman who went against all of these preconceived notions.

4. Heart of Farellah by Brindi Quinn (4/5 stars)

As a part of the Brindi Quinn Street Team of Review Warriors, I received the first book in the Farellah series in March. Brindi is an accomplished author and is well known for creating unique characters. Heart of Farellah is a story of a songstress, Aura who is destined to save the world. All of Brindi Quinn’s books contain beautiful imagery of magical worlds with characters that we love and love to hate. I have read the next book in the series and am in love with it. I cannot wait to see how it ends.

5. Startup Fiance by Shilpa Mudiganti (3/5 stars)

A book set in New York, it is a story of two CEOs who love their job above all else until they meet each other. The book read a bit too much like a Bollywood movie for my taste but for a first-time author, it was a good effort.

6. Earth to Centauri: The First Journey by Kumar L (3/5 stars)

A book set in the year 2117, Earth to Centauri is a Sci-fi story of the brave Captain Anara. Again, a book that isn’t written by a female author but one that features a strong female character. I was glad to see that a young woman was the lead astronaut who discovered a new planet. She also manages to keep her head in crisis and deals with the possibilities of an intergalactic war diplomatically. It was a nice change to see that the lady did not depend on the men on her team even for help of the ‘technical’ kind.

7. Something I never Told You by Shravya Binder (2/5 stars)

A very disappointing book that I wish I had not wasted my time on. It is a story of a man who fails to tell the girl of his dreams that he is in love with her. As typical love stories go, they almost get together but a silly misunderstanding tears them apart only to meet a few months later to re-start something that seemed doomed to me even before it began. The book gives off a very strong ‘Bollywood’ vibe right from the first page and did not impress me in the least.

8. A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena (5/5 stars)

If I could give this book 10 stars, I would. This is by far the best book that I have read this year and that’s saying something as I’ve 29 read books so far. It is a story of 16-year-old Zarin, an orphan who lives with her Aunt and Uncle in Jeddah. She does not conform to the society’s expectations of the ‘correct’ behaviour for a girl and is shunned by her peers and family for it. She struggles to form connections and fails to find people to confide in. She deals with her loneliness by hardening her heart and this backfires with people labeling her as a rebel. She has to deal with abuse, abandonment and depression with no one by her side. She is a brave young girl who’s story is sure to resonate with millions of girls around the world who are dealing with similar situations. Did I say that it is one of my favourite books ever?

9. Crowns of Croswald by D.E Night (3.5/5 stars)

Catered to the readers who grew up on Harry Potter, Crowns of Croswald is a fantasy fiction that takes place in a school of magic. Ivy discovers that she has magic in her after working as a maid for 16 years. A Harry Potter + Cinderella Deja Vu anyone? It contained a few characters like the Hairies that were interesting but the introduction of too many twists in the tale threw me off for a bit. I was glad that Ivy was strong and managed to deal with all the magical creatures on her own without too much of help from the men. It does have the potential for a making a good series but we will have to wait and see.

10. Lose Me. by M.C. Frank (5/5 stars)

This is another book that broke my heart and is sure to stay with me for a long time. It is a story of Ari, a stunt girl who cathes the eye of a movie star. What is great about the book is that Ari does not turn into a simpering little girl even with all the attention that the heartthrob throws her way. Even with her blinding headaches, she makes sure that she completes her stunts. A great work ethic if I ever saw one. She does not need the protection of her brother nor her boyfriend but is mature enough to realise that she does not need to go through life alone. Her sense of fear at things going wrong, her love for her job and her strength at the worst of times were wonderful to read. I was glad that this particular book was the last women-centric books that I read for the month of  March


Did you do anything special for March?

Tell me in the comments below or on Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

Musings, subscription box

Letter from Sirius Black

Some time at the end of last year, I came across the concept of book subscription boxes and went on to try a few of them. My very first box was by BooksNBeyond. Next came Aurora Box of Dreams and then the IAAK box. I was fairly happy with most of them but no matter how you cut the issue, these subscription boxes do burn a hole in the pocket. I also had the additional problem of storage since most of the items that come in the boxes are not things that can be used everyday. So I decided that the IAAK December box was going to be my last for a while.

But like every good entrepreneur, all of the curators come up with little games and contests, usually on Instagram, to entice new customers and to keep the old ones coming back for more. These are really fun and get you connected with a lot of bibliophiles and I have tried to take part in as many of them as I could. Similarly, the team of Aurora had a letter writing contest for their January box who’s theme was “The Boys We Love”.  They wanted us to write a letter from one of the fictional characters that we like. The choices were- Sirius Black, Rhysand, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Augustus Waters and Kaz Brekker.

IMG_20180220_164420-min
The letter arrived in a beautiful wax sealed envelop

Sirius is my all time favourite so it was a very easy decision to write from his point of view. It was to be my first attempt at writing anything other than essays back in school but try I did and what do you know? Yours truly managed to actually type something that people liked! I won a special prize for the letter and my letter was to be sent in every subscriber’s box. How exciting!! This also meant that I absolutely HAD TO subscribe for this box as well.

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The letter from Sirius

Here is my letter that won me the Aurora Box of Dreams Letter Writing Contest-

31.08.1991

Askaban Island

Dear Love,

I hope you are doing well. Me, I’m afraid I’m going a bit mad. But I’m sure you would say that the Marauders have always been a bit mad. It is awful being stuck here in this place where dreams come to die and to feel like the world is passing you by. But I should say I’m lucky to have Padfoot with me. He comes out when the days get tough and makes things better for a while. What keeps me going is the thought of you and of sweet innocent Harry. The two of you are all that is left in this world for me.

I can still picture you dressed as ‘Madonna’ for the Potters’ pre-Halloween party. I adored you although none of us knew who you were meant to represent (What did you mean by a “Pop Star”?). I wish I had asked you. I also wish I had told you that both Lily and James loved you, although for different reasons. Lily hoped that you would have a sobering effect on me while James hoped that you would keep Lily company while we were up to our ‘shenanigans’ (Is that even a word? I don’t know… James seems to have invented a lot of words recently. I’m sure we have all cringed when he called us his “dawgs” and talked about “bromance”. I really think staying hidden, away from all the action was getting to him). I only wish that we were granted more time together, if only to proclaim our love to the world. But of course, Dumbledore was right as he always is. You were in grave danger just for being associated with the Potters’ best friend.

Today is the eve of Harry’s departure to Hogwarts and it cuts me up that his parents aren’t with him. The poor lad does not even have his Godfather looking out for him. Here I am, in a place with no escape, all due to the cunning of a very evil man. I know you must have plenty of questions about that and I promise to write more on that soon. Today, I just want to talk about you and Harry.

Do you remember little baby Harry laughing at Lupin’s growls? Or swatting at their annoying, if surprisingly well-behaved, cat? He was so tiny when I picked him up from the rubble on that awful night. I was so glad to hear that Hagrid was sent by Dumbledore that I willingly gave him my motorbike. I often wonder if I could have made my getaway if I still had it with me but I don’t regret it even a tiny bit. I couldn’t have asked for a better chaperone for Harry nor a better caretaker for the motorbike than Hagrid. I am sure Dumbledore has placed Harry with a really nice family and hope that they send him off tomorrow with hugs no matter how much the boy squirms. Eleven year old boys need love to hold on to on their first night at a strange school. Nevertheless, I’m going to place a wish on the waves breaking over the island that he is with a nice family at the train station. It is something that all of the prisoners here do, place wishes upon the waves… until any ray of hope is invariably crushed by our delightful guards.

Love, I know I haven’t written in well over a decade. Sorry but we are not considered worthy of quill and ink here. I hope you have found yourself a man who has given you happiness and has helped your incredible light shine on, who has given you children as beautiful as you are with your deep brown eyes like molten chocolate on a cold winter’s day and your auburn hair that reveals its secret blond streaks only under favourable light (or do you in fact control this phenomenon? This is another thing that I wish I had asked. We never know which day is going to be our last with the people that we love and have to live with regrets for the rest of our miserable existence).

This letter will join the millions before it in the most secure place that I currently have access to- my noggin. If I can make a deal with the ministry officials I would ask them to extract from my brain two things. My letters to you and the memory of my innocence relating to my best friends’ murders, just to show you and Harry that I am not in fact, a monster. I would also ask to keep all the things that I remember about you (I am not sure anymore about which memories are real and which are the product of my imagination but I will not give up any of them). It does sound very selfish but then, I have never claimed to be a saint.

I believe that thinking about you makes me roil with emotion. The dementors outside my cell are getting angsty. It might be time to welcome Padfoot again.

My love, I hope you are doing well. Me, I’m afraid I’m going a bit mad.

Until I write again,

Sirius


Have you ever written fan fiction for any character? Would you like to?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

Musings, Traditions

Makara Sankranthi- A celebration of the Sun

Makara Sankranti is an important pan-Indian festival observed on the 14th of January each year. It marks the first day of the sun’s transit into Capricorn (Makara), marking the end of the winter solstice. It is observed during the harvest season to celebrate nature’s generosity and the imminent arrival of spring. Since it is one of the few Indian festivals that is observed based on solar cycles, while most festivals are set by the lunar cycle of the lunisolar Hindu calendar, it almost always falls on the same Gregorian date every year.

Significance of Makara Sankranthi

The festival is dedicated to the Hindu Sun God, Surya and marks the beginning of a six months auspicious period known as Uttarayana. The Magha Mela mentioned in the Mahabharata places this festival to be around 5,000 years old.

Other names

Each region has its signature rituals and unique festivities but the common thread across the country is a spread of delicious food that pays homage to the season and its bounty. It is known by different names across the country. It is called Suggi, Makara Sankramana or Makara Sankranti in Karnataka, Thai  Pongal or Uzhavar Thirunal in Tamil Nadu, Pedda Panduga or Makara Sankranthi in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Makara sankranthi in Kerala, Chattisgarh, Goa, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and Jammu, Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu in Assam, Magha Mela in parts of Central and North India, Maghi in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, Shishur Saenkraat in the Kashmir Valley, Lohri by North Indian Hindus and Sikhs, Sukarat in Central India, Uttarayan in Gujarat, Kichdi in Uttar Pradesh and West Bihar, Poush Sangkranti in West Bengal and Tila Sakrait in Mithila.

Traditions associated with Makara Sankranthi

Bathing in holy rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri on the day of Sankranthi is considered to absolve past sins. People also pray to the Sun God for success and prosperity. A shared cultural practice is the making of sticky, bound sweets using sesame (til) and a sugar base such as jaggery (gud, gur). This symbolises togetherness in peace and joy despite the uniqueness and differences between individuals.

Fairs (melas), dances, kite flying, bonfires (Lohri) and feasts are organised in all parts of the country. Every twelve years, one of the world’s largest mass pilgrimage, The Kumbha Mela, with an attendance of estimated 40 to 100 million people takes place to pray to the sun.

In some parts of Karnataka, a newly married woman is required to give away bananas to married women from the first year of her marriage and increase the number of bananas in multiples of five for the next five years. Some households also give away red berries called Yalchi Kai with the bananas. In north Karnataka, kite flying is a tradition. Drawing rangoli in groups is another popular event among women during Sankranti. An important ritual is the display of cows and bulls in colorful costumes in an open field. The cows are decorated for the occasion and taken on a procession and are made to cross a fire in the ritual called Kichchu Haayisuvudu in rural Karnataka.

Kites are a major part of Uttarayan celebration in Gujarat. It is believed that the tradition started as a means of basking in the sun after the long winter days to rid themselves of diseases. It is also believed to wake up the Gods and to offer prayers and thanks to them. Kite flying on Uttarayan is now a major sport with the organization of International Kite Festival where the competition is fierce and preparations begin as early as 6 months prior to the contest.

Traditions in other countries

Nepal celebrates Maghe Sankranti or Maghi or Khichdi Sankranti bringing an end to the ill-omened month of Poush. On this day, the sun is believed to leave its southernmost position and begin its northward journey. The Nepali Hindus bathe at the confluence of rivers and pray to the sun. Cha puja and Nara puja is conducted to protect the community from evil. Festive foods like laddoo, ghee and sweet potatoes are distributed.

Bangladesh celebrates Shakrain or Poush Sangkranti with the flying of kites.

Pakistan (Sindh) celebrates Tirmoori where Sindhi parents send ladoos and chiki made of sesame seeds to their married daughters.

Sri Lankan Tamil farmers honor the Sun God Suriyapakaran on the day that the sun enters the zodiac sign of Capricorn.

Food associated with Makara Sankranthi

Food plays a major role in all Indian festivals and it is the same with Sankranthi. Religious scriptures stipulate six ways in which til (sesame) must be used on this day, including oblation, charity and consumption as food. Til is believed to have been emanated from Vishnu and its usage washes away sins. A more practical explanation for the ubiquitous use of sesame seeds and jaggery for this festival is that both the ingredients help warm the body and are curative during this period of seasonal transition.

Chikkis, laddoos, small pellets of whole sesame and jaggery called rewri, tilkut (brittle made of pounded sesame), gajak (jaggery fudge that is perked up with roasted nuts) are typically made.

In Karnataka, ellu-bella (sesame-jaggery), along with dried coconut squares, roasted peanuts and fried chana dal that is made. Ellu Bella, Ellu Unde, bananas, sugarcane, red berries, haldi and kumkum and small gifts are often exchanged among women in Karnataka.

A rendition of the til laddoo, typically made for Lohri, with mawa and desiccated coconut is made by the Sikhs. In Maharashtra, the customary Makar Sankranti greeting “til gul ghya ani god god bola” (eat sesame seeds and jaggery, and talk sweetly) is usually accompanied by exchange of til gul vadis (a sesame and jaggery fudge traditionally made in moulds). These are often flavoured with cardamom or nutmeg and topped with shreds of desiccated coconut.

In Andhra Pradesh, sesame-crusted, sweetened rice pancakes called ariselu, pakundalu (jaggery-infused rice flour and coconut fritters) and khoya laddoos stuffed with coconut and jaggery are Makar Sankranti favourites. Assam has the iconic til pitha.  In Tamil nadu, it is customary to make two different kinds of pongal with the new rice and moong dal- the sweet, ghee-laced shakkarai pongal enriched with nuts and raisins and savoury ven pongal tempered with mustard, ginger and asafoetida.


All in all, Sankranthi is a festival where people gather outside under the clear blue sky and celebrate the end of the cold winter months and the end of a hard year of harvest. They look forward to sunny days and pray for a bountiful year ahead. Social gatherings and feasts pave way for the community to come together and forms bonds that were an important part of the olden way of life.

What are some of the harvest festivals that you know of? Do you celebrate the summer solstice? Tell me more on the comments below.

Musings

The New Year and its traditions galore

New year, new me, new beginnings. How many of us have said these words over the years? Every December sees us making lists of all the things that we have accomplished that year, lists of things that we are grateful for, lists of things that we wish had happened that year and lists of our aspiration for the next year. Resolutions are made and broken over the first week of the new year and apps that remind us of our failure to stick with our resolutions are uninstalled. While I was going through these New Year Traditions, I decided to see what people across the globe are doing and how it all came into being. On close inspection, the world is a village and most of the traditions have a lot of things in common. Most of them originated as a way of revering the spring harvest and hoping for a prosperous year ahead but it was all somewhat muddled with the invent of a new and globally accepted calendar.

January, the Etruscan word janua meaning door, is an apt name for the month that opens the door into a brand new year. But the 1st of January was not always celebrated as New Year’s Day. In fact, the month of January did not even exist until Numa, the second Roman King added January and February to the existing 10 months. Until then, the Romans started their year with March celebrating Saturnalia. This is evidenced in the fact that SEPTember, OCTober, NOVember and DECember were named for the numbers septa, octa, nona and deca for the seventh to tenth month in the then Roman calender.


Origins

What is the origin of the New Year’s Day as we know it? To get to this, let’s first see how the ancient world heralded their new year.

The first mention of celebration of a new year was in ancient Babylon where 11 days were celebrated as the festival of Akitu starting on the 1st day of spring. Akitu stands for Barley which was the main crop of harvest and the celebration was their way of honoring Mother nature.

Mesopotamia started celebrating the new year in 2000 B.C. on vernal equinox (mid March) with sun worship. Medieval Christian Europe celebrated new year to commemorate the birth of Jesus, although it was moved to The Feast of the Circumcision of Christ which was on January 1st according to the Southern European calculation of interval of days. The 7th century saw exchange of gifts on the 1st day of the new year by pagans of Flanders and Netherlands. This tradition was symbolic of the gifts of the Magi to Baby Jesus.

With the introduction of the Gregorian calendar by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 to correct the drifting of equinoxes seen with Julian calendar, January 1st confirmed its place as the beginning of a new year.

But why was January chosen as the first month? It was a tribute to Janus, the Roman God of Beginnings and Gates who has two faces and can look forward as well as to the past simultaneously.


New Year Days around the world

Perhaps the most famous of New Years after the 1st of January is Chinese New Year. China, along with Vietnam (Tet Nguyen Dan, meaning feast of first morning) and Korea (Seollal) celebrate their New Year on the first day of the lunar calendar which falls between the 20th of January and 20th of February. The Chinese celebrate it with Dragon and Lion dances, drums and things covered in red to signify good luck. They celebrate the day with food and fireworks with their family. The Vietnamese celebrate the arrival of spring and the Koreans spend it by sharing food with their family and visit ancestors’ graves with food offerings to the spirits.

Cambodian New Year (Chaul Chnam Thmey) is celebrated on April 13th or 14th where people visit Pagodas and play traditional games. Thai New Year (Songkran) is also celebrated on the same day and people splash water on each other on this day to signify the blessed water that was collected after pouring of water over Buddha. The African New Year (Odunde) is celebrated on the second Sunday of June and Persian New Year (Nauroz) is celebrated on March 21st.

India, with its vast diversity of people who follow different traditions, has quite a lot of ‘New Year’ Days. While its Christians celebrate it with most of the world on the 1st of January, the Marwaris and Gujarathis observe Diwali as their New Year. Interestingly, the Nepalese New Year (Navavarsha) also coincides with Diwali.

The Hindu calendar begins the year on April 14th or 15th. Tamilians, Keralites, Telugas and Kannadigas celebrate Vishu and Yugadi on this day and visit temples. The new Panchangam is read on this daySinhalese New Year also falls on the same day, possibly due to the intermingling of Tamilian and Sri Lankan cultures. The North and Central India celebrates New Year on March 22nd or 23rd as Gudi Parwa to signify the spring equinox. The Sikh New Year is celebrated on the day of birth of Guru Nanak on 14th of March.


New Year traditions across the world

Perhaps the most recognizable icon of New Year’s Eve is the New Year Baby, a cherub in diapers with a sash stating the new year being handed a baton by an old man with a sash stating the old year. This began in ancient Greece as the great festival of Dionysus to symbolize the annual (or periodic) rebirth of God as the spirit of fertility. This was celebrated by parading a babe cradled in a winnowing basket which later came to symbolize the New Year Baby.

The Celtic-Teutonic Druids and the Romans heralded the new year with gifts of the holy Mistletoe plant for an auspicious year. Europe brings in the new year with fireworks while people in Canada, Republic of Ireland, Netherlands and the United Kingdom gather on beaches and run into water for a popular tradition called ‘polar bear plunges’. Pasadena has the Rose parade on New Year’s Day while London begins the new year with tolls from the Big Ben tolls followed by fireworks over the Thames. The people later take part in the famous New Year’s Day parade.

Scotland celebrates New Year with street parties while in Greece and Cyprus, people switch off lights at midnight and cut into a basil pie (vassilopita) cooked with a coin inside. It is believed that whoever gets the coin gets luck for the year. This is followed by a traditional game of cards (triantaena). Philippines has made New Year a part of  their Christmas. They celebrate with fireworks and blowing of horns to dispel evil spirits. Their mid night food (Media Noche) contains 12 different round fruits representing the 12 months of the new year. A similar tradition in Spain involves 12 grapes eaten as the clock strikes 12. One grape is eaten for each strike and the person who succeeds in eating all 12 grapes before the clock stops chiming is believed to be lucky for the whole year.

Other food traditions involve eating of dishes made of legumes for good luck and eating a dish made with black eyed peas (Hoppin’ John) which symbolizes coins by American southerners. Cabbage is believed to be a vegetable of luck while in Cuba, Austria, Hungary and Portugal, pork is eaten since pigs represent progress and prosperity.


Famous New Year traditions

One of the most famous New Year tradition is the making of new year resolutions. This dates back to Mesopotamians who promised Gods that they would do better in the new year. The most commonly sung New Year Song by native English speakers, Auld Lang Syne which means ‘old long ago’ is sang at midnight to signify new beginnings.

Kissing at midnight started as a way to prevent a year of loneliness. Germans and Austrians try to read the future with molten lead while Filipinos wear polka dots since circles represent prosperity. They also keep coins in their pockets and jangle them to attract wealth. The color of the underwear worn at midnight is said to predict the year ahead. Yellow stands for prosperity and success, red for love and romance, white for peace and harmony, and green for health and well being. A Lucky Bird or First Footer is a tall, dark haired stranger who is the 1st to walk through the door on New Year’s Day and is said to bring the house luck for the year.


Whatever may be your traditions, whenever you might celebrate the new year,  it is always a time for nostalgia and for a fresh start. We make resolutions to turn over a new leaf and to start something that we have always wanted to. It is the time where gyms see the maximum number of new memberships and dentists and doctors see a decrease in the number of elective procedures. You might go out and revel in the boisterous New Year’s Eve atmosphere or bring in the new year in the quiet of your home, but you cannot deny the fact that it is a magical time that makes you feel like anything is possible.


How did you celebrate your New Year’s Eve? I spent a peaceful night at home with Red Velvet cake and Gilmore Girls. This year I decided to keep my resolutions simple and have resolved to floss every night and to make sure that I go to bed at a reasonable hour. What are your New Year Resolutions? Tell me in the comments below or on instagram @the_food_and_book_life