When New Year’s Eve comes, people around the globe will be celebrating in all different ways. When I was growing up, in my family, all we ever did was stay up watching movies, drink soda pop, and eat potato chips until 12:00, midnight, and then we all said, “Happy New Year!.” and we all went to our respective beds.
After I grew up and became a Christian, I learned that many churches like to do something for New Years. Some pray the new year in. They meet just before midnight and begin praying until after 12:00, yell “Happy New year,” and then they would all go home.
There was a church in Ohio I attended who had their own tradition of the whole church going to the bowling alley together on New Year’s Eve and bowling the New Year in together, and right after 12:00, they would all go home to sleep.
I have been part of some churches who like to “sing the New Year in,” but again, at 12:00, they would all say, “Happy New Year,” and then leave to go home and sleep. Many people think they need to watch the ball drop in Times Square in New York from the TV sets. There are so many customs, but Americans go to home and go to bed right after they have said, “happy New Year!” The Romanians don’t. Romanians really party that night!!
We found out the hard way. We were beginning a small church in Sibiu, Romania, and we invited the young people for a New Year’s Eve party. I made lots of good food, and we planned fun games. They were high school and college students. They showed up in mass really ready for a party. They were used to being served liquor on New Year’s Eve, but we don’t drink, so we were serving soda pop and tea. It was a bit disappointing to some, but they lived through it. I was shocked when I went into my bedroom and found a group of them in front of a small TV we had, and there were topless dancers on the TV. I had to turn it off!! I couldn’t believe that kind of stuff was on TV, and I couldn’t believe all these young people who were interested in Christianity wanted to watch it. Around midnight, many began looking for some liquor to toast with, but we had none. I have never kept liquor in my house. They said they would leave, find their parents, and toast with champagne, and then come back. I didn’t know why they would come back because it was getting so late. However, they did just what they said. In fact, to our surprise, they stayed all night!! We decided to never have a Romanian New Year’s party again.
When my daughter was born, we were living on the ninth floor of an apartment building that had ten floors. They had a New Year’s party on the tenth floor. The music was so loud it was booming all over our apartment!! The whole big group was dancing and booming our ceiling continually! At one point, they began with “We will, we will rock you!” They were all singing along and they were stomping their feet on our ceiling to the beat of the music! My daughter was a newborn baby. She was only a month old. When there was lots of noise, she was really quiet and listening, and then when the noise abruptly stopped because of the music, she screamed her head off! I didn’t know for sure if it was because she missed the music or if the music had been scaring her, and she finally decided to scream about it. I still tease her about her reaction that night that she, of course, doesn’t remember. She insists it was because she liked the music. At one point, the group up stairs let off fire works outside by our living room and kitchen windows. I knew that they let fire works off on TV in America, but I had never seen any individual let off fire works on New Year’s Eve. Just like that other party, this one went on all night, and they were noisy all night.
When we moved out to the village, I learned more about the Romanian New Year’s Eve. In the village, they had a tradition for New Years they didn’t have in town. Everyone in the village was supposed to gather all the old tires that couldn’t be used anymore, and just before midnight, they were all supposed to go in the streets and burn the tires. They had a plan for all the village to party the New Year’s in together in the street, on the main street of the village. And, it just so happened that our house was right on main street in the heart of the village, so the party went big time in front of our house. There was so much noise it was unbelievable!! People were yelling! Tires were burning! Loud music was blasting! Lot’s of people were drunk! I was too scared to go outside and join them, and I didn’t want my kids out there. My husband decided it looked like fun and ran into the streets to enjoy the party! I stayed in the living room just watching from the front window and really didn’t want to join the nonsense. We had a canary who sang beautifully an American family had given us who were in Romania temporarily. I loved to hear that bird sing! In the middle of all the noise, the bird just fell off its perch, and it was dead! The vet who lived next door told me that it died of a heart attack because it must have been scared by all the noise just as I had been. There was so much noise! There was smoke everywhere from burning those tires! They said it was like having fire works without paying for them and cleaning up the environment at the same time.
When I tell people that Romanians know how to party, they really know how to party!! They like wild parties! I like parties, but I am not into wild parties at all. Loud noises have always bothered me. When I was a little girl in Morocco, I still remember when we went to see the king of Morocco, and there were huge Arabian horses running everywhere with riders on them, and there were people screaming that special scream they scream in Morocco like yodeling when they get excited, and the gendarmes (Arab policemen) were pushing them back so no one would hurt the king as he rode by, and the noise shook me to the core that time too. I don’t know if I am the only one, but loud noises shake me into my innermost being! I didn’t understand the loud boisterous parties in Romania, and I didn’t understand the screaming and yodelling and pounding of huge Arabian horses either! I do much better with quiet parties, and I never want to stay out all night!