This is the chunk of article where we would normally recap the previous day’s celebrations, reflecting on the lessons we’ve learned, thanking our special guest stars, and laughing at the asses we made of ourselves.
But yesterday was December 31, 2019 – it doesn’t count. The fun begins in earnest today. For the sake of logic and balance, we’re going to go by the old TV Guide rule: morning begins at 6:00am; anything before that is the night before. So here’s how we welcomed in this massive party.
New Year’s Day
Rather than plant a kiss, pop a cork and sing “Auld Lang Syne” off-key, we opted to embrace some lesser-known international traditions for New Year’s. Keep in mind, we sourced these online so it’s entirely possible any number of these were invented by some list-maker, looking to pad his or her content with celebrations that seem just barely real enough to be legit.
The clock struck 11:59:59.5 and we leapt off chairs for good luck, a Danish tradition. Actually we were slightly off due to some miscalculation and vodka. But we were close enough.
Immediately we set off a sound clip of Big Ben striking 12 in order to achieve the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes, one with each chime. The grapes were small, but blasting through a dozen of them in such short order required some rapid-fire mastication. We were not prepared for the utter acidity of this batch of grapes, but we managed.
Next the bread was tossed at the wall. We spoke to several people of Irish descent, and none of them were aware that it was an Irish tradition to do this in order to get rid of evil spirits. Is this a real tradition? It doesn’t matter; we did it.
We also dropped some ice cream on the floor, as they do in Switzerland. We could find no explanation for this one – is it good luck? To banish bad luck? A clever ploy by the Swiss ice cream companies to sell more product? Whatever – the ice cream was spiked like a celebratory football.
Then it was time to ring the bell (or the electronically simulated bell sound effect, because we have no reason to own an actual bell) 108 times. Why? Ask the more than 1/3 of Japanese folks who identify as Buddhist. That’s where this tradition comes from, and it’s designed to banish all human sins. Kind of a shame, really, since some human sins are profoundly fun, but we have another year in which to welcome those back into our lives. Given that we didn’t have an actual bell handy, I used a sound effect. It took a while, but if you woke up this morning noticing there were no more human sins on the planet, you’re welcome.
While one of us had hoped to finish off the night with the Scottish tradition of Hogmanay, which involves walking through town whilst swinging fireballs over our heads, the more rational among us (Jodie) insisted we don’t. Besides, we’d been battering our livers in preparation for today’s real event.
And oh, how they were battered. Well, mine (Marty’s) was. Jodie wussed out and downed but two beverages, while I drank far too many. National Hangover Day does not need to begin with a vomitous eruption the night before, but I wanted to make sure I achieved my goal. Sadly, I totally did.
Here’s how we will be spending our New Year’s Day. Tune into our Instagram for ridiculous updates.
- National Hangover Day. Yes, the shots of peach vodka, mixed with Nude-brand vodka sodas, some home-made Irish cream, a potent cone-shaped cannabis vessel and some good ol’ Budweiser ensured we would be celebrating this today.
- Tournament of Roses Parade. We do this every year. It’s hours of flowers and plenty o’ greenery in the scenery. Perfect hangover viewing.
- Polar Bear Swim. We’ve had 100 liters of water chilling in the garage since last night. The water goes into the wading pool, the people go into the water. We had to fashion our own version of the swim, since the official Edmonton event is scheduled for January 26. Most of the world (most of the nutjobs who actually do this, anyway) take part in the plunge today.
- National Bloody Mary Day. Diving into frigid water sucks. If we survive, we will celebrate with a Bloody Mary.
- Liberation Day (Cuba). Why not follow up those Bloody Marys with a Cuba Libre? We’ll stop at one each, lest we repeat National Hangover Day tomorrow.
- Bonza Bottler Day. One August day in 1985 (the 8th, specifically) a woman named Elaine Fremont felt August needed a special day, and so was born Bonza Bottler Day, which occurs every month when the month number matches the day number. This is easily celebrated by popping open a bottle of our choice.
- Circumcision of Christ. Yeah, we’ve got something planned for this.
- Apple Gifting Day. We have two apples to give. Some lucky soul (or souls) will be receiving a late Christmas present, albeit a somewhat unremarkable one.
- Public Domain Day. In Canada, a work enters the public domain 50 years after the author’s death, so that means Jack Keroac’s On The Road and Dwight Eisenhower’s At Ease: Stories I Tell To Friends are both in the public realm. In the US, books and movies made in 1924 enter the public domain this year, so we’ll be treating ourselves to a toasty beverage and Buster Keaton’s classic Sherlock Jr. tonight.
- The Emancipation Proclamation took effect on this day in 1863.
- The Euro has been jangling around in pockets for 21 years as of today.
- The 2020 London New Year’s Day Parade looks like it’ll be spectacular today; tune in at 5:00AM Mountain time to see! Wait, that already happened. Shit.
- If Philadelphia is a little closer to you, check out the Mummers Parade.
- The History Channel debuted 25 years ago today. It still broadcasts some stellar programming, in between episodes of Storage Wars and other reality nonsense.
- The first traveller’s cheque was issued in 1772 on this date.
- Australia officially hoisted its own flag as an autonomous nation on this date in 1901, so happy birthday Australia!
- In opposite news, Czechoslovakia finalized their divorce on this date in 1993, branching off into two separate countries.
- It’s Z-Day. Give a high five to your favorite people whose names begin with Z, and raise a toast to your favorite places that begin with Z.
- On this date in 1956, Senator John F. Kennedy’s book about some brave-ass fellow Senators, Profiles In Courage, was published. Honorary mention to Ted Sorensen, his ghost-writer who didn’t get a mention on the book’s cover.
- Mary Shelley established herself as the first great female voice of scrote-shrivelling terror when Frankenstein was published on this date in 1956.
Make sure to raise a glass of Bloody Mary today:
- Paul Revere, the midnight rider who yelled about British people, then made a fortune casting church bells after the war. The guy was all about alerting people on a grand scale. The Revere Copper company still exists today. He’d be turning 285.
- Betsy Ross, stitcher extraordinaire, would be 268.
- J. Edgar Hoover would be 125.
- Kim Philby, a British MI-6 agent who turned out to be a double agent working for the Soviets, would turn 108.
- Don Novello, a.k.a. Father Guido Sarducci, is celebrating his 77th.
- Michael Imperioli, whose brilliance stands out in every role he takes, turns 54.
We won’t be honouring every famous birthday throughout the year – we’ll leave that to someone else’s weird project. But also take note of these:
- Edwin Starr’s War & Peace album turns 50 today. It reached #52 on the charts, but its single, “War”, hung out at the top of the charts for an incredible 15 weeks.
- Bobby Bland’s debut album, Two Steps From The Blues, was released on this date in 1961, and included singles dating back to 1956, like “I Pity the Fool” and “Don’t Cry No More” – two r&b staples from the genre’s finest era.
- One source (quite possibly incorrect) also identifies this as the birthday of J.J. Cale’s debut album, Naturally. I’m not sure if that’s accurate (most sources just say “January, 1972”), but J.J. deserves a mention. This album features his re-recorded version of “After Midnight”, which was a huge hit for Eric Clapton.