Culture, traditions add to New Year’s festivities |

Culture, traditions add to New Year’s festivities

Teri Vance
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

Money was tight this Christmas in the Servin household, so rather than gifts, Leticia shared with her children stories of their Mexican heritage.

“The kids love to hear the stories of how we celebrated,” Servin said. “They just think it’s so fun to hear the traditions.”

Today, she will continue to share the customs her mother shared with her.

Some of them are cultural. For instance, she was taught to eat 12 grapes, one a minute preceding the stroke of midnight.

With each grape, you’re supposed to make a wish.

Other traditions, Servin suspects, her single mother just made up as a way of keeping her eight children occupied as the hours passed until the new year. Like giving her children hundreds of balloons to blow up throughout the night, then sit on them and pop them to ring in the new year.

It’s a good idea, Servin said, and she does the same thing with her children.

Other superstitions she learned from her mother from Guadalajara, Mexico, she also passes on to her children.

If you want to travel in the new year, she said, you need to fill a suitcase with clothes and run out the door at the stroke of midnight.

If you want health, sweep the entire house. For wealth, place a pair of shoes outside the door.

“My kids just think it’s hilarious,” Servin said. “They run around trying to do all of them.”

Korinna Hefley, from Wetzlar, Germany, has her own ideas about how to get wealthy in 2009.

“My grandma had a tradition to eat sauerkraut on Jan. 1 to always have money in your pocket,” Hefley said.

Although she has been in Carson City for 10 years, she said she continues to eat sauerkraut on the first day of every year.

The Chinese won’t celebrate New Year’s until Jan. 26, ushering in the Year of the Ox.

Lee, owner of China East in Carson City, said it is celebrated by friends and family coming together to eat dinner and celebrate.

Children receive red envelopes full of money and wear new clothes. She said there are lots of fresh flowers to symbolize prosperity in the new year.

“It makes the spirit happy,” said Lee, who goes by one name.

Fireworks also are set off.

“It’s very festive,” she said.

When it comes to deciding which new year to celebrate, Lee said, the decision is easy.

“Since we’re in America, we can celebrate both,” she said.

– Contact reporter Teri Vance at tvan or 881-1272.

– Ballroom Dance Lessons, 11 a.m.-noon, Carson City Senior Citizens Center, 911 Beverly Drive. A healthy and energizing way to stay young. Fee charged for lessons; open to all ages. Call 775-885-0552.

– New Years Eve Kids Party,

2 p.m., Borders Books, 911 Topsy Lane. Bring the whole family to this free countdown to 2009 with games, crafts and a special parade. For information, call 267-0755.

– New Year’s Eve party, 9 p.m.-midnight, The Feisty Goat Pub, 1881 E. Long St. Usher in the new year with friends. Party favors and champagne toast at midnight. No cover charge; must be 21 or older. Call 775-887-0202.

– “New York” New Year’s Eve party, 6-9 p.m., Nevada State Library and Archives, 100 N. Stewart St. Cost is $35 per person or $60 per couple, includes food, music, no-host beer and wine bar, silent auction and balloon drop at 9 p.m. Tickets limited. Call 885-9807.

– Winter Wonderland New Year’s Eve party, 5-9 p.m., Dayton Senior Center, 320 Old Dayton Valley Road. Admission is $2, with dancing and music from the ’40s through ’70s. Includes hors d’oeuvres and refreshments. Call 246-6210.

– Firkin New Year’s Party,

9 p.m.-midnight, Firkin and Fox, 310 S. Carson St. Features live music from Lanny, Nancy and Rene, drink specials and giveaways. Call 775-883-1369.

– Fun Family Dance, 8 p.m.-midnight, Brewery Arts Center, 1864 Grand Ballroom, 449 W. King St. New Year’s Eve Ball ” a special long contra dance with desserts and Champagne or cider at midnight. Call 775-997-4937.

– New Year’s Bash with Flashback ’70s Night, 8 p.m.-2 a.m., Decades Bar and Grill, 1475 Old Hot Springs Road. Costume contest, free buffet, champagne and party favors. No cover charge, must be 21 or older. Call 775-883-8889.

– New Year’s Eve Celebration Party, 4 p.m.-midnight, Dayton Valley Golf & Country Club, 101 Palmer Drive. Entertainment by Party in Motion from 7-11 p.m. Special dinner menu from 4-8 p.m.; free glass of champagne at 9 p.m., plus dancing and cocktails. Call 775-246-7888, ext.708.

– New Year’s Eve Party,

8 p.m.-2 a.m., Tommy’s Neighborhood Bar, 260 W. Winnie Lane. Featuring live music by Road Dawgs. Must be 21 or older; no cover charge. Call 775-841-1912.

– Roaring ’20s New Year’s Celebration, 8 p.m. -1 a.m., Sharkey’s Casino, 1440 Highway 395 North. Featuring Lucky Diamond and The Gents o’ Jive, complimentary hors d’oeuvres, $500 balloon drop at midnight. Call 775-782-3133.