For at least 4,000 years, we've been celebrating the start of each new year, according to the History Channel. We've settled calendar problems, set Jan. 1 as New Year's Day and nowadays many begin celebrating on the eve of the New Year, Dec. 31.
Around the world and across the country, revelers enjoy food and drink and engage in various traditions, all with the hope for good luck in the coming year.
People bolt down grapes to symbolize their hopes for the months ahead in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries, according to the History Channel. In Sweden and Norway, they serve rice pudding with an almond hidden inside; it's said that whoever finds the nut can expect 12 months of good fortune.
In America, perhaps the most iconic tradition is the dropping of a 12-foot-in-diameter Waterford crystal ball in Times Square. Towns and cities across the country have adapted their own versions of the ritual, from Atlanta's Peach Drop to possums in Tallapoosa, Georgia, to pickles in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania.
We can't top that, but all of us at Cartersville Patch wish each of you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013 and offer these ideas for how to celebrate New Year's in Cartersville:
- Eat pork, greens and black-eyed peas: New Year's traditions in many parts of the world include eating foods thought to bring good fortune. Greens represent money while beans resemble coins, and both are thought to herald financial success in the coming year. The pig, which roots forward when foraging, represents progress and prosperity in some cultures. Food for the Soul and Moore's Gourmet Market are two local restaurants to check out.
- Buy or make ring-shaped cakes or donuts. Ring-shaped cakes and pastries, a sign the year has come full circle, are traditional in several countries, including some in which celebrants hide inside special trinkets or coins, the recipient of which will be lucky in the new year, according to Epicurious. Buy a dozen from Agan's Bakery downtown or Cartersville’s new Dunkin' Donuts, and a cake from Heaven Scent Cakes. Bake your own with ingredients from Ingles, Kroger, or Publix, all of which also have bakeries with lots of ringed-treats. Recipes include Three Kings Bread and Coffee-Glazed Doughnuts.
- Have a champagne toast. If love is on the agenda, Cartersville's Hilton Garden Inn offers a romance package as well as a champagne toast at midnight for all in-house guests. Not in the mood for a hotel stay? You can toast 2013 with a bottle of champagne at home or a friend's house.
- Party and have a good time. Plan on ringing in the new year with a drink and good company? Check out the The City Cellar and Loft and Knight's 1889 in downtown Cartersville.
- Sing the ever-popular Auld Lang Syne. The Scottish poem is traditionally sung as the clock strikes midnight and means "long, long ago" or "days gone by." Brush up on the lyrics.
- Make your resolutions. The practice may have caught on the ancient Babylonians, "who made promises in order to earn the favor of the gods and start the year off on the right foot," according to the History Channel.
- Attend mass or a watch service. Many ring in the New Year with a religious service. St. Francis of Assisi Catholic is holding mass at 10 a.m. on New Year's Day. Know of other religious services set for New Year's Day? Tell us in the comments.
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