| Monday, December 11, 2006
| WHERE TO CELEBRATE
|FIVE EXOTIC LOCALES IN WHICH TO WELCOME THE NEW YEAR
WHY STAY HOME FOR THE BIGGEST PARTY OF TE YEAR WHEN THEY'RE CELBRATING ALL OVER THE WORLD? HERE ARE SOME EXOTIC PLACES TO RING IN 2007.
The birthplace of Auld Lang Syne is also the home of Hogmanay, a spectacularly rousing four-day celebration that welcomes the New Year with fire, music, parades and them some more fire. The party starts on Dec. 29 with a 15,000 strong song-filled candlelight procession and fire festival through Edinburgh and ends with the symbolic longship. Days of parages,concerts, dog races and fireworks follows.
There's precious little lightin Iceland during the winter, which makes the upper latitudes ideal for viewing the northern lights - especially on New Year's Eve. In Reykjavik, Icelanders gather around dozens of massive bonfires to sing traditional folk songs accompanied , according to local legend, by trolls, fairies and elves. (Iceland's Tourist Board claims that 80% of Icelanders believe in little beings.) At midnight the city explodes in a massive fireworks display. The dancing and partying that follow last until the sun comes up, which in Iceland is at about lunchtime on Jan. 1.
If you want to be the very first to welcome the first day of the new year, Antartica is the place to be. On any Jan. 1, the sun sits above the horizon the whole day across most of Antartica. For a slightly more comfortable holiday vacation, head to the Chatham Islands. Kahuitara Point on Pitt Island in this Pacific Ocean chain is the first populated place on the planet to see the sun rise. You could do worse. The Chathams are known for their excellent fishing, wild scenery and easygoing lifestyle. They are also home to about 40 plant, 18 bird and 150 insect species found nowhere else on earth.
In Thailand you have three chances to ring in the New Year. On Dec. 31, western New Year's Eve is celebrated with parties, concerts and fireworks. A few weeks later the country stages massive celebration in honor of Chinese New Year . Finally on April 13, Thailand celebrates the first day of the traditional Thai calendar with Songkran, a three day festival marked by parades, feasts and a water throwing free-for-all in which people roam the streets with squirt guns, bowls of water and garden hoses, drenching passersby - and themselves - in the process. The water represents purification, but it also brings the revelers welcome relife. April is the hottest month of the year in Thailand.
RIO DE JANEIRO
New Year's Eve, or Reveillion, is one of Rio de Janeiro's most important holidays, second only to Carnival. Extravagant beachfront celebrations unfold along Copacabana, attracting some 2 million revelers clad in white (to bring good luck and peace in the coming year). Live music ranging from samba to rock blasts from four stages along the beach. New Year's is also a day to honor lemanja - goddess of the sea and mother of the waters - with ritualistic offerings stowed in small wooden boats and launced in the surf. Traditional holds that if the goddess is pleased with a boat's offering (usually perfume, white flowers or trinkets), she will carry the boat out to sea and bestow the bearer with blessings. If not, it's still a great party.
(Source: TIMEMAG/YOURTIME by: Lisa MCLAUGHLIN)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 7:23 PM