Tuesday, 1 January 2019

A New Year (2019)

2018-12 December7

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

… and somehow, instead of a fresh blank page, every new year always seems to start with sorting out the leftovers from the previous one…

It has become a long-standing tradition for me and 2-3-4 friends to celebrate New Year’s Eve together at my place. Three of us used to be neighbours in the same building for many years in the past. One of them usually has her sister visiting for NY; and the other one now usually has her mum staying with her over the holidays. 

To make things easy we pretty much follow the same procedure every year now… I make quiches (because I can prepare those beforehand and then heat them in the microwave; which gives me time to tidy up, lay the tables, rest and get dressed etc in between, before the guests arrive). The others bring the salad and some of the snacks and drinks (we keep to non-alcoholic).

We start out with a small cup of hot glögg  (‘mulled wine’ – but non-alcoholic) in the living room – just because it’s nice to warm up and greet each other properly and catch up a bit before we eat. Then we have the quiche and salad at my dining table in the kitchen; after which two of the others always help take care of the washing up of those dishes. Then we all move into the living room for coffee/tea, and a coffee table full of bowls of fruit and chocolates and “whatever” to see us through the rest of the evening… Having chatted for a bit, we always watch a film; and after the film chat a bit more. (The film this year was Paddington 2… enjoyed by all of us!)

It has also become somewhat of a tradition that one of my friends buys us Kindereggs (chocolate eggs with a surprise toy inside – sometimes a bit of a challenge to put together). Just a bit of silliness to help keep us awake (and not feeling too old)… Mine this year turned out to contain a little race car… Perhaps a hint that the next year will seem to swish by even faster??


Towards midnight we watch the celebration broadcasted live from Skansen (park) in Stockholm; which includes various artists singing, and just before the midnight countdown and the ringing of bells – and the outbreak of fireworks (of which we also always have plenty going on “live” outside my windows)  – an actor reading a certain poem which has been read in the New Year celebrations there ever since the 1890s or so (i.e. long before there were even any radio broadcasts of the event). The poem is a Swedish translation of Ring Out, Wild Bells by the British poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Actually I’m not sure if I ever read the original until this New Year. It was some other friend quoting it on Facebook that made me do it now. In my ears, it rings even more up-to-date in English…

Here it is (copied from Wikipedia):

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Happy New Year to All of Us!



  1. What a wonderful tradition! And your place looks so festive. That little car is darned cute! I put some Kinder Eggs in the girl's stockings at Christmas. I am so glad you included the entire poem! And a joke on me...I was so happy to see your link to Wikipedia that I went there right away to read the poem. Only to return and find that you had included the entire poem in your post. I LOVE it!! I am so late with all my comments. You will not see this until tomorrow; I hope you look!

  2. Gosh, you must have posted this as late as I visited; I see no comments!

    1. Yes it got posted rather late... New Year always leaves me feeling somewhat jet-lagged the next day... ;)

  3. Nice to hear it went well for you, quiches are so easy, you can just about put anything savoury into them. Happy new year btw.

    1. Amy, with the only dining table in the same small(ish) kitchen where one cooks, one needs to keep it simple :)

  4. I like traditions, especially the ones we create for ourselves like the one you have with your friends for New Year's Eve, or the one I have with my friends for our Secret Santa.
    Happy New Year to you, Monica, even thiugh 2019 is already on its 2nd day today :-)

    1. Meike, I agree. I'm glad we've managed to keep it up all these years.

  5. I enjoy each year reading about your new years traditions and your friends. it is a perfect way to end the year and start a new one with friends from the past. I have not heard of the eggs, but I see Ginny bought them here. the car is so cute..

    1. Yes Sandra, having spent so many New Years this way now I think we're all rather comfortable with this tradition by now :)

  6. It's amazing how relevant the poem is nearly 170 years after it was written. What is disappointing though is that we make the same plea at the end/start of every year with no seeming improvement from one year's start to its end.

    1. Graham, I suppose you've got a point... On the other hand - at least it indicates that there is still Hope!


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