Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy New Year 2012

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in.
A pessimist stays up to make sure the Old Year leaves.
Bill Vaughan

Some dire predictions for the year 2012 have been making the rounds, especially the one about the world coming to an end on December 21st, according to the Mayan calendar.

You can even buy an End of the World Calendar and have fun waiting for the Big Disaster (which could be alien invaders, floods, fire, earthquakes or even nuclear war):

Everything you always wanted to know about December 21, 2012 can be found here:

2011 has been a difficult year for many people, for some, it has been the year for natural disasters. I experienced two in 2011. One was a tornado, which passed within a mile from here, the other was a freak October snowstorm which caused widespread damage and power outages. I was without power for a week in the cold and dark; there were downed trees everywhere, including one that fell on top of my garage.

Still I consider myself fortunate. Others, such as the Japanese, have had it much worse.

Here's hoping the 2012 will be a better year than 2011 :)

Today's post will ring in the New Year with music from the United States and Bulgaria.

Here in the States the biggest New Year's Eve party is held in Times Square in New York City. Although I lived in New York for many years I never went to a New Year's Eve in Times Square. It was too cold, it was infested with tourists, and there were no sanitary facilities or places to sit down. I went to parties with friends instead, and we watched the ball drop (a New York tradition) on TV.

In the first video, Imagine plays before the ball drops; then at midnight, Auld Lang Syne, based on a poem by the Scotsman Robert Burns (which became popular as the New Year Theme Song many years ago). The finale is New York, New York.. At parties, we'd link arms around each other, kick up our feet and sing along to Sinatra. It was fun, especially after a few drinks.

Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians made Auld Lang Syne a very popular New Year's song in the United States. read more about it and the band here:

By the way, the tradition of using noisemakers and lighting fireworks on New Year's is supposed to scare away the evil spirits who bring bad luck. In this celebration from Bulgaria, the noise from the people and the pyrotechnics is so loud it drowns out the music!

If you listen carefully, you can hear the three traditional songs that Bulgarians play to bring in the New Year. They start with the national anthem, Mila Rodina, then an Orthodox chant sung by Boris Christoff, and the finale is Diko Iliev's Dunavsko Horo.

A New Year's celebration in Bulgaria would not be complete without dancing to Diko Iliev's Dunavsko Horo at midnight. This piece has become the second national anthem of Bulgaria, and the dance is second in popularity to the rachenitsa (the national dance of Bulgaria).

There are other musical versions of Dunavsko Horo, besides the one by Diko Iliev (although his is the most popular). The version these young people dance to at a Christmas show is played by a folk ensemble.

If you don't know how to dance Dunavsko Horo and would like to include this tradition in your New Years Eve party, here is part of a Bulgarian teaching video, if you watch the dancers, you can easily follow the steps.

For some more New Year music from Bulgaria, click this link from the Bulgarian National Radio:

A Happy New Year to all!

If you enjoyed this you may also like Some Interesting New Year Rituals

Afterwards, you can Have a Blast With Diko Iliev. Do it before the world self-destructs on December 21...

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  1. Happy New Year!
    Wish you good health, good luck, and happiness in 2012! An I am sure it will not be as apocalyptic as some predict! :)

    I'm sorry to hear you had such a troublesome 2011 with the tornado and the snowstorm! I remember that storm in October in Boston. We were ok, but I remember that a lot of property in southern Massachusetts was damaged.

    You are completely right about the New Years Celebration in Bulgaria! We don't have a ball dropping, but we have a huge concert in Batenberg Square. Exactly at 12, we dance the Dunavsko horo together under the stars!
    We also eat banitza, a traditional phyllo dough roll stuffed with feta cheese. In the banitza, there are "fortunes" - written notes with wishes for good luck, travel, pleasant surprise, love, etc. You eat your piece of banitza for the wish to come true!

  2. Thank you both for stopping by and a Happy New Year. So far 2012 has been quiet, and no snow!

    New Year banitsa sounds like fortune cookies :)

    As for Dunavsko Horo, that is a tradition I'm trying to start with my dance group when we meet around New Year's (on New Year's eve the community center is closed so we have to dance the day before).