New Year’s Eve always seems to be brimming with magic as everyone around the world leaves another year behind them and looks forward to a new one. In Cyprus every household makes a ‘Vasilopita’ an orange cake to cut and eat as the new year arrives and a penny is placed inside. The person who finds the penny is lucky for the whole year. Everyone sings the Greek version of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and kisses eachother.
In the past presents were given on New Year’s Eve, not Christmas and people made bread and left a glass of wine for Santa, who would arrive on New Year’s Eve. Everyone went to church and wore their new clothes or shoes for the occasion.
We all make a list of new year resolutions at this time of year, personal goals of what we want to achieve and where we want to be by the end of the year. For some it’s losing weight, for others to stop smoking or change careers. Everyone begins the year with good intentions and some resolutions are realized and others not. From experience it’s always a good idea to start small, achieving small things before big ones.
There used to be a New Year’s tradition in Cyprus which promised to foretell the future, the burning of olive leaves in the fire to tell you if someone you loved, loved you, popular with young girls who wished for love and happiness. I can just imagine them in days gone by sitting around the fire, wrapped in blankets, throwing the olive leaves in the fire and asking as the flame enveloped the leaves and they burnt out, the important question and were filled with joy when the flame fizzled as that is what it had to do. It was like a game of he loves me, he loves me not which is used with flowers, a game foretelling love and romance and a hope for the future.
Whether young or old everyone has dreams for themselves but also for their loved ones and as another year draws to a close everyone counts their blessings and hopes for better things in the future, for health and happiness and everything else that follows. A new year slowly arrives and with it hopes and dreams.