Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve Rememberories

When I was a kid and my grandparents were still living in NYC, before their migration to Florida, I can remember New Year's being a fabulous event! Each year, my grandparents would throw, what I thought, was this amazingly fun and outstanding party with all their family and friends and just about anyone who walked in front of their apartment building on December 31st. Maybe it was so amazing because I was a kid. Maybe it wasn't as amazing as I'm remembering but it was fun.

We would all gather at my grandparents' apartment, still decorated from Christmas and now adorned with New Year's decorations, and every few minutes the bell would ring and in would come someone new. Our family was almost always the first ones there. Followed by cousins and "aunts" and "uncles". My cousins and I would run and play and anxiously await midnight, because we were never allowed to stay up this late. We played bartender and would get people drinks- usually made by an actual adult- and then we'd collect our tips. By the end of the night we sometimes had as much as $5 to split between the three of us. The TV would be blaring Dick Clark's New Year's Rocking Eve and everyone would be eating and drinking, enjoying each other's company- all wearing those crazy sparkly New Year's hats. I loved those parties.

Midnight would roll around and we'd put on our coats and hats and one of the adults would give us a pot and a spoon or two pot lids and after we wished everyone a Happy New Year and gave out hugs and kisses, we'd head outside. I'm not sure where or how the tradition started but for as long as I could remember when midnight struck we'd head outside and bang pots and pans all around the neighborhood to welcome in the new year. We never thought about waking people up because we assumed everyone was partying like us. It never bothered us that it was 20 below out because we were up past midnight. We never thought about the fact that once we got inside we'd probably have to put on our pjs and get ready for bed because in that moment we were having fun.

When my grandparents moved to Florida, the parties stopped. By this time I was a preteen and then teen and I started either finding things to do with my parents or my friends. My sister and I tried going out around our NJ suburb to bang pots and pans for a few years following the last party, but it just didn't have the same effect. It was disappointing. As I got older, I assumed New Years would take on a whole new meaning. There would be insane parties with ball gowns and streamers and horns. I would be out with friends until the wee hours partying and ushering in the new year. I don't think that ever happened. There were a few parties. There were a few years where I had a couple of people over to our house. It just wasn't as big as it had been when we were kids. My parents started going out each year with friends of their for dinner and continue to do that to this day. We started having people over for New Years eve but have been lucky if one of us has actually stayed awake for midnight. I thought about taking the boy out tonight to bang some pots and pans but I have a feeling it would be lost on our current neighborhood- read:we'd have some unhappy neighbors. It's sad. I would love for him to understand the joy and wonderment that my cousins and I had when we went out at midnight to make noise and let everyone know it was the new year. I would love for him to share in that tradition even though has been hibernating for some time now. Maybe I will take him....

New Years eve, while it ushers in the first day of the next year, is somewhat anticlimactic. I love the idea that tomorrow we get this free pass to start anew. Tomorrow is 2008. 2007 is over and done. We can move forward with a brand new year. We sign 08 to our checks and forms that we fill out, now. It is brand new. Tonight we'll welcome in the New Year with friends and family. At midnight I'll call my parents and their friends, as I do every year, and talk to each of them as the phone gets passed around the restaurant. I'm betting by 1am we'll be tucked into bed asleep or lounging on the couch snacking with our friends. Tomorrow, we'll get up and move forward. We'll start a new year with new hopes and dreams and thoughts for how the year will go. Who knows maybe next year we'll be ringing in the New Year with a big party and banging of pots and pans?!


Anonymous said...

I also share very similar memories and traditions as you do. I grew on on Long Island and we and actually the entire neighborhood would bang pots and pans at midnight. We would all scramble at about 11:45 to gather that perfect pot, pan, lid and spoon. My home was always filled with a ton of aunts, uncles,cousins and friends. My twin sister and I would have so much fun watching everybody and playing with our cousins. My other siblings were much older than us and we would love to have their friends and their boyfriends or girlfriends over. We are of polish ancestry and would have a buffet at midnight with indian curry chickens as the main meal. Why? I have no clue but at 42 years old I still make curry chicken for new years. When I moved to N.J. after I got married I was the only person in the neighborhood banging pots. They thought I was crazy, but then the next year after I had become friends with all of my neighbors they too banged pots and pans with me. Now I have been living in north carolina for the past 5 years and had to train all of my new neighbors to join in with me. I do not know why it is done but I have heard something about warding off evil. Regardless we will always do it! When growing up we called it "bang pots day" So cheers to ya all and happy bang pots day !

Huckdoll said...

Happy New Year, Stella!

I'll even bang a few pots and pans for ya and hopefully wake up a few grumpy neighbours in your honour :P

LunaNik said...

Ah yes banging pots and pans...I loved that too!! We would always sleep over my gramma's as children so mom & dad could go out. It was fabulous. Gram would always have sparkling cider for us and we would "party" until after midnight. Good times.

Kelly said...

Happy New Years. Here is to new frienships!
Peace and love,

OHmommy said...

I love the idea of having a party to ring in the new year with kids included. Maybe we will start a new tradition. There are so many new memories to make with our turn as parents. Right?

Live. Love. Laugh. Happy New Year!!!

Mr Lady said...

Stella, I just read over at Buttermom's about your suitcase from the summer?

Um, you are officially my HERO.

Kellan said...

I loved hearing about the memories you have of the wonderful New Years celebration at your grandparents house in NYC when you were young - it's the sort of party every child should have stored in their childhood memories - it was wonderful.

I hope you clanked and banged those pots and pans this year - I wish you a Very Happy New Year - and hope to see you in 2008. Take care. Kellan

Spell Check said...


Stella said...

Mr. one is supposed to know about that! ;)

Spell Check- Yes, I'm well aware that it isn't word but if people can keep using 'hear' instead of 'here' then I can make up a word to start off the new year.

M said...

You know my mom thought that we were the only ones who banged pots and pans.. nice to know it wasn't just us.. haha

i will surely keep this tradition going with my children and tonight i will welcome in 2009 by going outside with my boys and banging pots and pans.. keep traditions like this alive for our kids to pass on to their kids and so on... haha


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