Is New Year’s Over-Celebrated? The view from a CrankyOldGuy


Here we go again…another way to celebrate New Years on a different date, with yet more traditions that beg the question, “Why???”  What’s so great about another new year when it doesn’t even fall on New Year. Unless it does…but does it?

Let’s start by making the distinction between those who celebrate the New Year with the start of the Gregorian Calendar and those who apparently have never met Greg, and are willing to celebrate willy-nilly (with no real deference to Groundskeeper Willie), on random dates that are somewhere in between other dates, yet to be determined by the sun and the moon.

Case in point. The current update which is celebrating the Chinese New Year…which follows the Lunar Calendar and is actually called Yuan Tan and can happen anytime between mid-January and mid-February. It can last up to 15 days (undoubtedly using soup as its main food group) and culminates in the exchange of money in red envelopes for good luck.  Nothing says “lucky” like soup and money. But, as I am writing this, my wife has reminded me that the soup is actually Wonton, and NOT Yuan Tan, but the money part is accurate, even though the day it is celebrated every year changes. See why I’m confused?

But there’s more to this New Year’s mess….MUCH more!
We’ll have to verify this next one with our Dutch readers (I know we have a couple), but if you think the Chinese soup/money celebration is unique (I know…I already refuted the soup claim, but I am choosing to use it as an “Alternative Fact,” which as a concept is being made very popular these days), wait until you hear how the Dutch celebrate.

new-years-4According to custom, the Dutch Danish (sorry, always get those mixed up) save dishes all year long, and then throw them at the front door of their friends and neighbors.  Supposedly, the more broken crockery you have on your front steps on New Year’s Day, the more loved and popular you are. But, add to this part two of their tradition, which is to jump off of a chair at midnight. Imagine the clogged hospitals if people tried this while trying to eat hot soup from the bowls before they threw them. It boggles the mind.

new-years-2For every madcap fun New Year’s Eve party (insert your memory of a drunken office party here), there is a counter-balance that is not only not on the Gregorian New Year, but significantly less frantic and fun.  In Sri-Lanka, they celebrate their “Aluth Avurduhu” (say that tens times fast), by cleaning the house, lighting the fire in the hearth, and herbal bathing. This happens in Mid-April, and sounds very boring, unless your name is Herb.

new-years-3Another one that begs the question, “Really????” comes from Germany. According to tradition, German New Year’s is celebrated by dropping molten lead into cold water to see what shape it takes…and then prognosticating the year by what they see.  “Oh look!  There’s a heart…love is coming! Oh…and there’s what looks like a chunk of cheese, we will have prosperity!  And look…that looks like Johan’s finger…oh…WAIT…That IS Johan’s finger! He burnt it off playing with molten lead!!!!”  Sheesh. At least they celebrate it on the traditional Gregorian New Year’s…and are wise enough not to get lead poisoning by trying to make soup with the same water. Unlike Flint, Michigan…which may or may not have been settled in the 1700s by Germans (again with an alternative fact).

And after the past couple of months…and all of the Religious Hubbub that took place in the TSTO Winter Event, let’s not even start with the differences in how the major religions celebrate the New Year.  The Hindus celebrate a luni-solar pattern, Islam’s calendar is only 354 days long, the Sikhs celebrate on “Chet 1” which is generally March 14th of the Gregorian calendar (Hello…my name is Greg, nice to meet you Chet!), Buddhism is another luni-solar calendar but varies from country to country, and the Jewish faith celebrates during the month of “Tishri” which could fall in late September or early October.

new-years-1So…it only makes sense that Greg calls the shots for most of the world, because it is always on the same day. Greg loves his calendar…because it always starts at midnight on January 1st, which falls exactly a week after Christmas, which means that we are able to put off our “New Year’s Diet Plan” for at least a week longer than we should. Some even go so far as to celebrate right through from Christmas to Epiphany…which is in the middle of January, and traditionally marks the celebration of the three wise men following the star of Bethlehem to the Baby Jeebus…(which actually happened historically in August or June depending on which calendar they were following in Zero BC).

All of this New Year’s bit is lost on me. I was BORN on New Year’s…just after midnight…so I had to come into the world with the “angry vibe” of my father’s disgust at losing a tax deduction if I’d just been born a couple of hours sooner.  But, because New Year’s and my Birthday have always been a convoluted mess, I rarely ever thought much about soup, or molten lead, or cleaning the house.  The fact is, for me, the “new year” actually started with the first day of school.  My Dad was a teacher, and so it always felt like the “new year” was actually just that…a New SCHOOL year.  New school clothes, new school supplies, a new season of football…it was all SO MUCH better than watching the ball drop and listening to Dick Clark yammer about what a great year it is going to be.

Soup or no soup…molten lead or loads of crockery broken on one’s doorstep…nothing compares to the smell of a fresh binder of notebook paper, a  box of #2 pencils, and a large box of Crayola Crayons (the 64-count size).

Wow! Reading that last paragraph make me realize how old I really am…perhaps I should celebrate that!

But in the end, when all is said and done, Greg wins. Mostly because there were so many Gregs that his influence on New Years was huge!

The original Pope Gregory (aka the First or 1) was a busy guy. He came up with the Gregorian chant (kinda monotone but apparently effective in converting Pagans to Christianity), the Gregorian Mass (which had to be created once there were so many converted Pagans who wanted something other than a monotone chant to sing), and a whole lot of other stuff (record keeping in the 500s was kind of sketchy).  It wasn’t until Pope Gregory the XIII (aka Greg 13) that we finally got the full meal deal Gregorian Calendar, which was introduced in October 1582…but apparently took a couple of months to catch on, until January when the “New Year” started officially (and Ryan Seacrest’s great, great, great, great grandfather dropped a ball of lead into a bucket, creating the first New Year’s ball drop).

I’d like to celebrate this update with the purchase of all of the Chinese New Year stuff. But the fact is, there isn’t a single New Year’s tradition that calls for the exchange of donuts for a bunch of cliche Chinese New Year’s clutter, even if the junks would look swell floating just off shore from Lisa’s fish processing plant. Fish head soup anyone?

I’m passing…because it isn’t New Years. Sorry.  Soup or no soup. It just isn’t.

What New Year’s customs do you have? Did you buy the Chinese junk? Do you like soup?  Let us know…we LOVE to hear from you! 

78 responses to “Is New Year’s Over-Celebrated? The view from a CrankyOldGuy

  1. The Chinese fish head soup served in a steamboat fashion is actually very tasty

  2. Celebrating the fact that I survived another year (heck even another day) is always awesome 😀
    Because remember people, as Homer said it: “People die all the time, just like that! Why, you could wake up dead tomorrow… Well, goodnight”.
    Happy new year y’all!

  3. I have always felt NYE was overstated, but I like parts of it anyway. Who doesn’t like the idea of a fresh page, and the chance to tell a better story? I’m not one for partying with fake strangers, or chancing icy roads full of drunks. For us, New Year’s is family night. Ironically (related to this post), we always order our favourite Chinese food, watch junior worlds hockey on TV, do puzzles, play games, etc. At midnight, we toast with champagne and enjoy chocolate fondue. We occasionally have a few of the neighbours join us, sometimes not. The timing of the toast, and whether it was champagne or ginger ale has varied with the age of our kids, but it’s always a great evening. That being said, the article was hilarious, and we all now know your opinion. I enjoyed the quest, enjoyed buying most of the Chinese things, as I felt they added nicely to some of my favourite areas of Springfield, and wish all those who celebrate, no matter how or when, a very Happy New Year.

  4. Love this informative article, Patric!

    I do like soup, pho being my favorite, followed by tomato. mmm now I want soup.

  5. “Wonton” is “not now” backwards. I see why you’re confused.

  6. I’m Chinese American, non religious and I thought it was sweet that Tapped Out remembered us, plus I loved the Christmas event.

    Being a marginalized race in America isn’t fun. Dec 31/Jan 1 was always meaningless to me, it isn’t a “holiday” but I get the day off – that’s all. CNY has tons of cultural meaning behind it, it’s not just some random day you go out partying and drinking. But growing up I had to go to school on Chinese New Year. I even had to take exams on that day. Yet we got Jewish holidays off. It sent a message that people didn’t think your culture/race mattered because you’re weren’t white.

    It is a very important day to a lot of people.

    • Edited by Alissa because portions of this post clearly violated or Guidelines and Rules for this site.

      • While that may be true, I hope you understood the point of my post and that at least you shared the sentiment with Cranky Old Guy. If not, then that makes me sad. I appreciate you are trying to keep it family-friendly. But I found the beginning and the end of this post … what’s the friendliest way I can say it? Not nice. Nope, not nice at all. People should be educated, especially people with a great forum/venue like this that is read by many people. Because you read my original post, you should share my words with Cranky because he should know how he is coming across, even if you/he/others don’t think he meant it that way.

        He reduced 1.5 billion people’s holiday to soup, and told us it wasn’t what it is to us.

  7. On december 31st, the Germans watch the same British black and white comedy sketch from 1963 for decades now: Dinner for one. Nice tradition!

  8. Hey Patrick, the tradition you say is Dutch is Danish. Here is a copy of something I found on a Dutch travel agents website about NY traditions in different countries. This is in Dutch:#5 Oud en nieuw in Denemarken Oud servies in huis? In Denemarken gooien mensen hun servies tegen de deuren van de buren. Hoe groter de stapel, hoe meer vrienden je hebt en hoe meer geluk je te wachten staat. In English: # 5 Old and new in Denmark Old crockery at home? In Denmark, people throw their dishes at the doors of the neighbors. The bigger the stack, the more friends you have and the more happiness awaits you. I refer to larsyuipo, we eat oliebollen. 😊

  9. Throwing with dishes? Nah that’s not something we do.

    Usually we go to friends or family, watch TV and have a good evening. Then 0:00 we go outside timers firework and stuff like that. Atleast that’s what I do.
    We also have something we call oliebollen which is a new year’s snack in the Netherlands and Belgium.

  10. In Wales, there’s an old tradition of walking around with an allegedly haunted horse’s skull, knocking on neighbors’ doors and requesting some form of alcohol.

    • I want in on this.

    • WOW….my ancestors on my Mom’s side are Welsh. Somehow this new information makes so much sense to me…and may save me thousands in counseling charges!

      Next year…it’s a skull. I actually have an old cow skull from my youth…I wonder if that will do, or if it will only end up getting me a glass of “near-beer?”

    • Josephine Kick@$$

      Interesting, I think if someone came to my door with a skull of any type and asked for alcohol, I’d be inclined to tell them they probably already had enough😂😂😂

  11. New Years has never been a big celebration for me. My grandma died on December 31, when I was 12. I spent the night at my friends house crying in my sparkling grape juice and could not wait for the day to end. In my twenties I went to a few house parties. I believe the last one was in 2000 and everyone who was there ended up with the flu. I personally also ended up with a double ear infection and at the doctor when my temperature was around 103. I work at a liquor store now so I usually volunteer to work nights and let the younger kids have the night off to party. Also, no New Years resolutions for me, I believe if you want to make a lifestyle change, you can do it any day of the year.

    • I feel your pain… my Dad died a few years back, not only on my birthday (New years) but apparently within a few minutes of my actual birth time (1:45 am). So…yes…mixed emotions for New Year’s and my birthday for me…

  12. Home made tomato soup, I love soup, won ton, cream chicken, broth, thick and plenty for the Scottish climates, as for the Chinese new year dragons and the junk but no donuts to spare

  13. Back when I was still a drinker it was just another day to get drunk…only for a good reason. Ha! I was in bed watching Netflix on my phone and didn’t realize it was midnight until I heard the fireworks and gunshots! Although driving around breaking dishes on people’s doorstep sounds like something I could have fun doing!

  14. Hey Patric, we Dutch don’t throw with dishes at all. We are to frugal to do that.
    We are the inventor of copper wire. Two Dutch doing a tug of war with a copper cent.
    And jumping of a chair with clogs??? Give me a break!!!

  15. I bought a number of the Chinese lanterns & put them in front of Madame Chao’s & Asia De Cuba, as well as decorating my casino area with them. Aussies will get the casino reference, as local casinos have been heavily advertising Chinese New Year on TV & etc.

    I didn’t spend donuts as there was nothing I wanted from that list.

  16. Josephine Kick@$$

    I think this is the funniest post from you that I’ve ever read😂😂😂😂

    I did buy everything because I liked it (to each his own, right?).

    I don’t usually celebrate New Years. My reasons… I’m too old to make resolutions, I’ve quit saying “this year is going to be better than last”, and the only thing I want to be kissing at midnight is my pillow😜😜😜

    • Lol. Bet your pillow looks forward to New Years!

    • I don’t celebrate New Year’s either. The only real tradition my husband and I have is we look back and see how much better things are now than they were a year ago. A count your blessings kind of thing. The interesting part is when I ask others about it they say nothing good happened until I ask about the little good things, like a new pet, or getting a new appliance, then they start and realize that life is not always about the big things, but the little things that make us happy everyday.

  17. For me? New years is typically sparkling cider count in midnight and go to bed or play video games anymore…..when I was younger it was more exciting….no major traditions in my family…

    This year? Well.. I won’t touch the dread that came with new years this year…..and no…I’m an independent…

  18. I bought everything from the Chinese New Year update because I liked it 🙂 I love dragons (possibly a bit GOT obsessed) but I only ever buy stuff because I like it and I want to incorporate it into my Springfield:)

  19. blackgypsyrose13

    No New Year customs here, it’s just another day. We don’t celebrate a new month every month so I can’t see why celebrate a new year. I think maybe my attitude about it came from growing up with people that would go all out , get drunk and fall down stairs, every year, ending their fun in the ER. OR get drunk and get a wise idea that it would be fun to tease the bull, again ending up in the ER.

    As for the game, I just had to buy the dragons! Why? They are dragons! Also, got the junk because well I just like the name and the walls but I have no idea why I thought it would be good to get them.

  20. I’m wondering how many people had to “Google” crayons & #2 pencils or was that hashtag pencils? Lol
    My main tradition for New’s Year is I don’t celebrate it. I don’t go out as there are way too many amateur party goers out. Dinner is peel & eat shrimp, clam chowder and fresh sour dough bread. You notice soup is on list so yes I love soup. However it’s a good excuse to spend a lil extra on a nice bottle of wine & champagne, yes both.
    New Years very scary for all four legged babies here. This one lasted five nights of fire crackers or m80s, not fun.
    See Patric, you aren’t the only old cranky one when it comes to New Years! I’m willing to bet there are lots more of us out there, especially if you have dogs or cats.🐶🐶🐶🐶🐶😺😺

  21. I want General Sherman.
    That is all.

  22. I bought the junk because I think that Someday, someDay I wish I had.
    I bought the wall and wish I didn’t.

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