Old School New Year’s: Flame On!

Hacking the Holidays

The end of the year brings many traditions that center on casting off the bad to start with the good. Today’s New York Times lists a bunch. But what better way to end the year than with fire? A very big fire.

The last few years we’ve kicked off the evening and spent a couple of hours on New Year’s Eve at the historic Brearley House in Lawrenceville, NJ and their annual Hogmanay bonfire. Hogmanay is a pretty big deal over in Scotland. Here in NJ, the bagpiper (not me, thankfully – it was cold!) wanders and plays as the fire burns while you write down your troubles of the past year and toss them into the raging flames.

It doesn’t get more basic. It is so far unmatched as the least complicated way to celebrate the new year. The bits of paper fly into the flames the entire time. I’ve seen other folks get creative and tie longer lists to logs and hurl them in. I saw one family toss it the stump of a tree completely covered in sheets of paper. A couple of years ago I tossed in the hat of my former employer – but that’s another tale. I also had quite a list worth singing this year as well.

The winds yesterday were pretty high and threatened to cancel the event. The fire raged for maybe 30 minutes before becoming a spent pile of burning coals – pretty impressive and almost dragon-like. More pics up on the GeekDad Flickr group. Happy New Year!

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