New Year's Eve is almost upon us, and so I thought I would give a little bit of information on the celebration, and its evolution. Some scholars believe the celebration can be traced to the Roman observance of the Winter Solstice, or "Saturnalia". The holiday was know for the letting go of discipline and rules of behavior, a free-for-all basically, under the night time sky! Think Woodstock, think Stonehenge Celtic new-agers.
By the 18th Century, revelers in cities in Philadelphia and New York often ended up in street demonstrations, bar room brawls, violence and vandalism. Groups of people would shoot off guns, scream, set off firecrackers, break down barricades, break windows. So what else is new?! We always think our times are the worst.
Of course, Auld Lang Syne was sang in more sedate gatherings, which goes back to 18th Century Britian when guests ended a party standing in a circle, singing the well-known song. By the way, the lyrics are by Robert Burns, written in 1788.
)Well, however you choose to celebrate it, the New Year, 2013, is on its way. When George Orwell wrote "1984", (written in 1949), 1984 must have seemed life-times away, a future no one could possibly comprehend. And, here we are now at 2013. There are technological advances that we thought were impossible, like even HAL in the movie "2001". We practically have Hal in our homes today, in fact with the Ipod phone and "Siri", we do have a Hal of sorts, (maybe a Halle, or Halley!
It has been a pleasure for me to research and bring tid bits of the 18th Century to you this year. I hope to be inspired again to not only bring 18th Century information, but perhaps some surprises, too. Stay tuned!
Happy New Year!