Happy New Year from Mancunian

Well, New Year’s Eve has been and gone; I hope everyone had a good New Year and is ready to travel to some of this year’s hot new destinations! I see James has been enjoying New Year in London and I don’t blame him for not joining the crowds in Trafalgar Square to ring in the new year to the chimes of Big Ben….I used to do that when I was younger and lived in London; the only problem was trying to get back home afterwards, along with thousands of other revelers.

If you still want more New Year celebrations, you can always celebrate the Chinese New Year, which will be celebrated around the world on January 26th. (This year is the year of the Ox) One of the biggest celebrations of Chinese culture outside Asia is in San Francisco’s Chinatown, which includes the Southwest Airlines nighttime parade. London also has excellent Chinese New Year celebrations, as do Melbourne, Toronto, Sydney, Los Angeles and Singapore. Everybody has heard of the Chinese New Year, but I was surprised to discover how many other countries and cultures celebrate New Year on a date other than January 1st. Some areas of India celebrate the New Year in March or April, Cambodia, Nepal and Thailand all observe the New Year sometime in April. And the first place in the world to see the New Year (the one on January 1st) is apparently the island nation of Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean.

And here is an interesting New Year tradition that takes place in Scotland every January 11th in the town of Burghead. The ritual is known as the burning of the clavier and involves carrying a burning barrel through the streets of the town and depositing the occasional burning ember on people’s doorsteps. The Scottish take their New Year (or Hogmanay, as it is called there) celebrations seriously, although this sounds even more dangerous than some of the bonfire night traditions in the UK.

And speaking of China, Northwest has decided to postpone the start up of its Detroit-Shanghai service, largely because of the poor economy. Other airlines, including American, USAir and United have also postponed or dropped service to China. Let’s hope things are better for the airlines (and for everybody else) in 2009. Happy New Year!

Guest entry by Mancunian

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  1. Jill says:

    You aren’t kidding when you say the Scottish take their New Year’s celebrations seriously. We spent one New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh, and we knew we were in for an eventful night when the shopkeepers started boarding up their windows at 4 pm!

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