New Year's Eve less than two weeks away, we offer six ways to celebrate.
Blade and bubbly
sheer drama, nothing beats opening a bottle of champagne with a sword. Internet
resources advocate striking the back edge of the blade against the rim of the
bottle at a 20-degree angle; in our experience, using the sharp edge of the
blade at about a 45-degree angle sliced the entire top off smoothly.
- a sword (preferably a short sword
with a sturdy blade that has a bit of an edge to it; a large kukri worked well
when we tried this)
- cheap champagne (to practice on)
- better champagne (to drink)
Lead it be
or lead-pouring, is a German custom. Melt a small amount of lead, pour it into
cold water, and evaluate the resulting shape for clues to your future. Check out some
- lead (or tin or wax);
- a small container in which you
can melt the lead;
- a larger container, full of
- a gas stove or other heat source;
- tongs to fish the lead out of the
Let them eat grapes
many Latin nations, it’s traditional to eat 12 grapes at midnight — some people eat one for each stroke of the
clock, while others shove them all in their mouth in the last few seconds of
the year; either way, they're said to bring luck.
- grapes — enough to have 12 for
each person. (Spring for seedless, unless you want to find dried-up grape seeds
stuck all over your floor the next day.); and
- sandwich baggies, paper cups, or
some other container for each person’s grapes.
3. Aim for prosperity
recurring theme of New Year's celebrations around the world is prosperity.
Italians serve lentils on New Year’s Day because the tiny legumes could be said
to resemble small coins. In the Philippines, families display heaps of round
fruits because they too could be said to look like coins. (Do you notice a
pattern here?) Folks in Greece are slightly less metaphorical and bake an
actual coin into a loaf of “vasilopita,” a sweet bread, to bring luck to the
person who finds it (assuming they don’t choke on it). Check out a recipe for vasilopita here.
2. Unleash your inner Michael Bolton
some countries, engaging in cathartic acts of benign destruction (carefully
supervised, of course) is believed to bring good luck. In Denmark, for example,
New Year’s celebrants throw plates at neighbors’ doors to symbolize friendship.
In South Africa, Johannesburg residents used to throw their old appliances out
the window until police cracked down on the practice a couple of years ago due
to an unfortunate incident with a minifridge. And in Panama, effigies of well-known
figures — from television characters to politicians — are burned in bonfires.
Get out of town
last-minute travel deals, try Expedia.com, Jetsetter.com,
top picks — if not for this year, then for next: