New Year’s – A Worldwide Celebration

In the United States, the coming of a new year is met with lavish parties and declaring resolutions that may or may not last. The most common of New Year’s festivities for North America is Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve extravaganza when the entire population of New York City is packed like sardines into Times Square and the entire country zeros in on television to watch a shiny ball drop at midnight. The event of New Year’s is the most internationally celebrated holiday of the year. People of all different races, religions, cultures, and continents recognize it and embrace it in their own way.

Scotland: This is the country where the song “Auld Lang Syne” originated. Just as Americans sing it around New Year’s, so do the Scots and every other English-speaking nation on this planet. The Scottish practice this New Year’s tradition known as “first-footing”. Good luck is supposedly brought to the house where a male visits after midnight. He might bring with him a gift of money, bread, or coal for the fire. This tradition is also practiced in Great Britain.

Greece: January 1st is a celebration for St. Basil in Greek culture. St. Basil’s day is celebrated much like Christmas; people will meet for meals and exchange gifts.

Russia: Also much like Christmas tradition, Russian children look forward to a figure known as Grandfather Frost who brings them toys on New Year’s.

Spain: All work stops at midnight on New Year’s, and the people consume twelve grapes, and sometimes wine, for good luck in the coming year.

Japan: The spirit of renewal is embraced. Bonenkai parties are held with the purpose of putting out of mind the cares and concerns of the past year and open up to a new beginning. It’s also tradition to clean house. New Year’s cards are sent, and if postmarked by a certain date, delivery on January 1st is guaranteed. Gongs from the Buddhist temples ring 108 times in an effort to expel the 108 different types of human weaknesses.

Korea: The Korean nations celebrate New Year’s according to both the solar and lunar calendars. The one that falls on January 1st is the lunar celebration called So-nal, and it is their second biggest holiday. Their festive traditions are more ritualistic, involving family reunions, eating special dishes, wearing new clothes, and bowing to their elders in respect.

Whether ritualized or spontaneous, the whole world celebrates another year of life on January 1st. Respected figures are honored and friends and family come together. Good fortune and gifts are bestowed upon one another. However the New Year is embraced, nothing on earth could be more common than accepting life’s clean slate on this day that begins a new chapter in our history.

ToastPop wishes you a happy New Year!!!!

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Taylor Swift Is Ours

If there is one person who knows how to make an impression, that person would be Taylor Swift. After coming out with her latest album everyone suspected that we wouldn’t hear anything else from her with the exception of a few singles here and there and television and concert appearances. We know another album is inevitable, but that would take some time, especially with Taylor, she puts her heart and soul into her meaningful lyrics. She recently surprised everyone with a few singles that are amazing and possibly better than a few on the actual album! One song in particular deserves recognition, that song is “Ours”.

In the song “Ours”, Taylor gives the listener a simple tune, that is quite possibly the most catchy thing we’ve listened to in weeks, and sings some lyrics with meaning that no doubt relates to her life somehow but can be transfered to the lives of the listeners. Taylor has showed us before how relatable she is, and this song is no exception. While the color of her dress is all that changed about the album cover for these few new singles that are now out, and no doubt topping charts somewhere right now, but the mood is slightly different in these new singles than that of the album. These songs show a much lighter side of the music that was only shown in small bits on the album. The published single is a more upbeat song compared to when she performed it at the CMA’s. We have both the CMA version and the new refined version here for you to listen to! Which do you prefer? We liked the new version better.

Regardless of a poor choice in album cover, we would’ve loved to see some brand new album covers featuring Taylor and possibly settings that relate to each single, we still love her new songs, especially “Ours”. It gets an easy 10 out of 10 here at Toast Pop! Have a listen for yourself!

The Hunger Games Official 2012 Trailer Debut

Today is a monumental day for fans of The Hunger Games! The new and oficial trailer, the one that is actually a trailer, not the one where she is running around in the woods for a minute and a half, has premiered! We have watched it and we love it, and we hate it, but mostly love it. Of course it is not going to be how one envisions the movie in their head, but I am getting the vibe that the cast of characters is not portraying them as they were in the books, perhaps it’s just this commercial not effectively showing character types. Either way, this is the most exciting thing to happen for a long time and since I love the books I am sure the movie will not disappoint overall. For those of you who do not want to waste a few minutes searching for this trailer, we did all the work for you, so sit back, relax, and enjoy!