Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Other traditions of the season include the making of New Year's resolutions. That tradition also dates back to the early Babylonians. Popular modern resolutions might include the promise to lose weight or quit smoking. The early Babylonian's most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment.

The Tournament of Roses Parade dates back to 1886. In that year, members of the Valley Hunt Club decorated their carriages with flowers. It celebrated the ripening of the orange crop in California.

Although the Rose Bowl football game was first played as a part of the Tournament of Roses in 1902, it was replaced by Roman chariot races the following year. In 1916, the football game returned as the sports centerpiece of the festival.

The tradition of using a baby to signify the new year was begun in Greece around 600 BC. It was their tradition at that time to celebrate their god of wine, Dionysus, by parading a baby in a basket, representing the annual rebirth of that god as the spirit of fertility. Early Egyptians also used a baby as a symbol of rebirth.

Although the early Christians denounced the practice as pagan, the popularity of the baby as a symbol of rebirth forced the Church to reevaluate its position. The Church finally allowed its members to celebrate the new year with a baby, which was to symbolize the birth of the baby Jesus.

The use of an image of a baby with a New Years banner as a symbolic representation of the new year was brought to early America by the Germans. They had used the effigy since the fourteenth century.

Traditionally, it was thought that one could affect the luck they would have throughout the coming year by what they did or ate on the first day of the year. For that reason, it has become common for folks to celebrate the first few minutes of a brand new year in the company of family and friends. Parties often last into the middle of the night after the ringing in of a new year. It was once believed that the first visitor on New Year's Day would bring either good luck or bad luck the rest of the year. It was particularly lucky if that visitor happened to be a tall dark-haired man.

Traditional New Year foods are also thought to bring luck. Many cultures believe that anything in the shape of a ring is good luck, because it symbolizes "coming full circle," completing a year's cycle. For that reason, the Dutch believe that eating donuts on New Year's Day will bring good fortune.

Many parts of the U.S. celebrate the new year by consuming black-eyed peas. These legumes are typically accompanied by either hog jowls or ham. Black-eyed peas and other legumes have been considered good luck in many cultures. The hog, and thus its meat, is considered lucky because it symbolizes prosperity. Cabbage is another "good luck" vegetable that is consumed on New Year's Day by many. Cabbage leaves are also considered a sign of prosperity, being representative of paper currency. In some regions, rice is a lucky food that is eaten on New Year's Day.

22 wounded in GenSan blast

MANILA, Philippines--(UPDATE) An improvised explosive device (IED) exploded in General Santos City on New Year's Eve, wounding at least 22 people, an army spokesperson has said.

The IED exploded at Oval Plaza, General Santos City, South Cotabato at around 9:10 p.m. Thursday, said Army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Brawner Jr. The victims were taken to different hospitals in General Santos City for medical treatment.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said that the explosion happened at around 9:20 p.m. and was caused by a hand grenade and not an IED.

Police also said that the explosion had injured 23 persons.

Both the PNP and military said that they have not identified any suspects behind the bombing as investigations are still ongoing.

Security forces have been on heightened alert for possible attacks by Muslim separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels who have been locked in intense battles with troops since August.

A grenade attack Tuesday on a police outpost in General Santos wounded a policeman and two other people.

The same day, a suspected militant transporting an improvised explosive device was killed when it went off at a police checkpoint near the town of Esperanza, also on Mindanao island.