The end of the year and beginning of the next is always a bit cathartic for me. Some years were good, some were bad, but I often have a sense of ridding myself of the baggage I acquired during the year. 2016 hasn't been so good for me or my family, or a lot of people I hold dear, so I'll be celebrating its demise!
As I leave one phase behind, like many people, I try to rid myself of any negative energy from the previous year, so one of the things I always do before the clock strikes twelve on December 31st is to make sure that all of my laundry is washed. Symbolically, I don't want to leave carry any 'dirt' with me into the new year.
I even do a virtual clean-out of my computer files, deleting anything I'm sure I won't need, and eliminating any saved links I haven't used for a while. Basically, if it is clutter, it goes.
Several friends eat black-eyed peas on New Years Day, although that isn't something I do. Where I live in the south, the tradition is thought to bring prosperity in the year ahead.
There are many other rituals and traditions that are more widespread -- kissing your sweetheart at midnight is said to bring good luck; popping the cork on a bottle of champagne has its roots in the Christian ritual of consuming wine during the Eucharist. Singing Auld Lang Syne began as a British and Scottish funeral mainstay, but came to the US when the Guy Lombardo Orchestra played it on New Year's Eve at a bash in a New York hotel.
And fireworks? Well those were first created in seventh-century China with the express purpose of warding off evil spirits.
However and wherever you celebrate, I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.