Usually most families in New Delhi go to nice hotels or huge parties to celebrate the New Year. Over the past few years, that is what my family has done. We used to go to hotels and drink and dance with complete strangers. After being away from my family while at college, things changed a bit. This year, when I came back to India for winter break, I tried to spend more time at home. Therefore, this year we planned a more low key evening; we went for a family dinner and later attended an event at the apartment complex I live in. At midnight, we prayed together, and my mother made atta halwa( an Indian sweet dish made from flour and sugar) as that is a tradition in my family. Our celebrations this year were more enjoyable and personal.
Like thousands of people in the Boston area, it is a tradition in my family to take the train to downtown Boston and explore the ice sculptures made by local people. The ice sculptures can vary from the Red Sox World Series trophy to public figure heads and some are even holiday themed. This is one of the days in the year when Boston is the busiest. It is a very family friendly event. After the touring the ice sculptures, like many others, my family returns home to enjoy the remaining hours until the New Year.
Most people celebrate the coming of the New Year on New Year’s Eve, but for my family New Year’s Day is much more important. Our family gets together, puts aside all of the things we need to do, (including our technology), and any other distractions we might have, and we enjoy our time together. This year we had a beautiful Afghani dinner and sat around the dining room table reflecting on the year that had just come and gone.
I spent my New Year’s Eve in Philadelphia with a friend of mine from Israel. We both used to be in the same class in high school. Now both of us live in the USA.
My friends from Bangladesh and I planned to celebrate this year’s New Year’s Eve in Times Square even before we set foot in the United States. As tourists of NYC we were very unaware of how many people exactly come to see the ball drop on New Year’s Eve. After hours of waiting in line to get one more block closer to Times Square, we were still 4 blocks away from it. It was 9 pm when we accepted the fact that we weren’t going to be able to go close enough to Times Square to see the ball drop. It’s was New Year’s Eve and we refused to just be home for the countdown. We made our way to Grand Army plaza as the clock hit midnight to see the skies light up with fireworks and the crowd cheer. Everyone was hugging family, friends and strangers and wishing them a very happy new year. While my two weeks in NYC had been nothing but thrilling adventures, my new year’s eve was not what I expected. Nonetheless, it was a very great experience. In Bangladesh, we went out to celebrate New Year’s Eve even though it was not particularly safe. People couldn’t get any crazier on any other night than on New Year’s Eve in my home country. As I celebrated my first New Year’s Eve in America, I experienced a good culture shock; one where it was safe for everyone to have fun during New Year’s Eve.
Happy New Year everyone!
-The Bloggers here at OIA