In New York a ball will drop in Times Square, in Spain people grapes will be eaten for luck, fireworks will light the sky in Sydney, and Auld Lang Syne will be sung everywhere.
However, as much I love fireworks, Times Square, or grapes, none of this means New Year’s to me. To me New Year’s means the Rose Parade. Whether you help decorate floats, try out to be on the Rose Court, attend the parade, or simply complain about the bleachers set up along Colorado Boulevard in November, if you are from Pasadena you cannot escape the Rose Parade.
I spent many New Year’s Eves helping to glue flowers on my hometown’s entry into the parade. I learned that purple statice is an awful flower as more of it sticks to your fingers than to the float; there are never enough mums; and only turpentine will get the glue off your fingers. Other years my family and I watched the floats from other communities make their way down Huntington Drive from their place of construction to the parade route in Pasadena. Rose Parade floats look very different in the dark, moving silently and slowly, a secret parade for the few spectators who forsake parties and fireworks.
Shared memories such as mine of Pasadena and the Rose Parade, or New York and Times Square, or Sydney and fireworks, are what bond us together as families, communities, and nations. So ask your relatives and friends what their favorite New Year’s memory or tradition is. Don’t worry about tape recorders or pens and paper, just be in the moment and let them know you want to share in their life’s experiences. Perhaps they will inspire you to restart an old family custom, try an heirloom recipe from the old county, or to finally start your own family history project.
Wishing you all the best for a prosperous and peaceful 2015.
Photo: Before the Parade, 2006 (Cimmy via morgueFile)