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Articles Archive for December 2008
Ready or not, here it comes! 2009 will be here in a couple of days. Here are some traditions across the globe that will be taking place at the stroke of midnight on (or around) December 31st. They are all believed to bring good fortune and prosperity in the coming year.
Take a look, and then let us know some traditions in your culture.
In Austria, folks will be feasting on the suckling pig. It is the symbol for good luck for the New Year. Afterwards, green peppermint ice cream in the shape of a four-leaf clover is served for desert.
The people of Belgium call New Year’s Eve “Saint Sylvester Eve”. At family parties, kisses are shared, good luck greetings are exchanged, and toasts to absent relatives and friends are recited.
The cities, cafés, and restaurants are crowded with people who bid farewell to the Old Year. New Year’s Day is called Nieuwjaarsdag at this time of the year the children save money to buy decorated paper for writing holiday greetings to parents and god parents.
A pile of broken dishes are found at the door as a symbol that you have many friends. In Denmark, old dishes are saved year round to throw them at the homes where their friends live on New Year’s Eve.
Respectively the monarch’s New Year Speech and the striking of midnight by the Town Hall Clock in Copenhagen are two important items broadcast on television and radio.
“Yuan Tan” or the Chinese New Year is celebrated between January 21st and February 20th. The exact date is determined by the lunar calendar, a new moon marks the beginning of each month.
Because red is the symbol of good luck and happiness in their culture, the Chinese paints their front doors red for the coming year. Families prepare a huge feast for the New Year without any knives. The knives are put away for 24 hours to keep anyone from cutting themselves, but not for their safety. It is thought that if someone gets cut so will the family’s good luck.
At the first toll of midnight, the back door is opened and then shut to kick out the old year and all of its bad luck. Then at the twelfth stroke of the clock, the front door is opened to welcome the New Year with all its luck.
The Spanish grabs a bunch of grapes as the clock nears midnight. They eat 12 grapes, one with every toll, to bring good luck for the 12 months ahead.
Say “Happy New Year” in other languages (or at least attempt)
French – bonne année
Chinese – xin nian hao
Spanish – feliz año nuevo
Greek – eutichismenos o kainourgios chronos (we wish you a happy new year)
Hawaiian – hauoli makahiki hou
Italian – felice anno nuovo
Latin – felix sit annus novus
Swedish – gott nytt år
Vietamese – yangi yilingiz qutlug’ bo’lsin
Yiddish – a gut yohr
Russian – S novim godom
Living in Florida, we don’t get much exposure to hockey unless it’s a big game or the Stanley Cup Finals. One of those ‘big games’ is only two days away: The 2009 NHL Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The NHL Winter Classic is a series of NHL regular-season, outdoor hockey games played on New Year’s Day. This is the second consecutive NHL season with a Winter Classic game.
The 2009 Winter Classic features a matchup with the Detroit Red Wings vs. the Chicago Blackhawks. These two teams are bitter division rivals, with Detroit leading the Central Division and Chicago only a few points below them.
The weather forecast for the outdoor game in Chicago is a high of 37 degrees with few snow showers. Last year the game was played in a near blizzard in Buffalo. The perfect weather for outdoor hockey.
Check out this promo for the game, it’s a great play off the baseball theme of Wrigley Field.
If you’re a big fan of the Red Wings or Blackhawks, check out our selection of Winter Classic Gear.
|Blackhawks Winter Classic Jersey|
|Red Wings Winter Classic T-shirt|
The Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona will host the Texas Longhorns (11-1 overall, 7-1 Big 12) from the Big 12 Conference and the Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2 overall, 7-1 Big 10) from the Big 10 Conference. The game is scheduled for January 5 at 8:00 p.m. and will be televised live on FOX. This is just the third all-time meeting between the Buckeyes and Longhorns, but they’ll be playing for the third time in four seasons.
The Texas Longhorns were one of the best teams in college football in 2008. A lot of experts had them going to the BCS Championship Game, but unfortunately, they were left out of their Conference Championship Game and ultimately the BCS Championship. The Longhorns won’t let all of that get to them though. “It’s time for us to put behind us all the BCS stuff and move forward and look forward to a great game,” Brown said. “The BCS doesn’t satisfy everybody. We’ve been on the positive side of it a few times. We’ve been on the negative side a few times.”
The Longhorns are led by Heisman runner-up Colt McCoy, who set school records with 3,445 yards and 32 TDs to go along with an NCAA-record 77.6 percent completion rate.
The Ohio State Buckeyes were the No. 2 team in the AP preseason poll, but an early loss to then-No. 1 ranked USC had them on an uphill climb the entire season. The Buckeyes are led by true-freshman QB Terrelle Pryor, star linebacker James Laurinaitis, and running back Chris Wells. The Buckeyes have a lot of talent and will make this a good game.
Outside of the BCS Championship Game, the Fiesta Bowl gives us the best matchup. OSU Coach Jim Tressel said “Ohio State against Texas, I don’t know, it doesn’t get much better than that.”
A quick note about the game from ESPN:
The Longhorns aren’t happy to be in Glendale but have a solid matchup against their old friends from Columbus — the first game between them since a memorable two-game series in 2005 and 2006. Terrelle Pryor will give them a taste of what other defenses experienced when they were trying to contain Vince Young over the years. — Tim Griffin
Any predictions for the Fiesta Bowl?
The NFL Regular Season is officially over. Some teams surprised us (the Titans), while others were a huge disappointment (the Lions). Owners and General Managers waste no time placing blame on the coaches for a team’s poor performance. Several NFL coaches have already been fired and we’re still less then 24 hours from the last regular season game.
The following coaches have been fired:
Eric Mangini of the Jets – New York went 1-4 in their final five games. They were 8-3 at one point in the season, then everything went downhill. The 37-year-old Mangini was 23-26 in three seasons in his first head coaching job.
Romeo Crennel of the Browns – Cleveland ended the 2008 season with a disappointing 4-12 record, after winning 10 games last year. The 61-year-old Crennel went 24-40 in four seasons with the Browns.
Rod Marinelli of the Lions – Detroit became the first team in NFL history to finish a season 0-16. No surprise here to see Marinelli let go after such an awful season. Marinelli went 10-38 in three seasons with the Lions.
We will likely see a few more firings in the next few weeks. Teams will want to let their coaches go as quickly as possible so they can get the new regime in place. Other coaches on the hot seat include:
Lovie Smith of the Bears
John Gruden of the Buccaneers
Marvin Lewis of the Bengals
Herm Edwards of the Chiefs
What’s your opinion on the coach firings? Do you any teams were too quick to let their coach go?
The Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana will host the Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1 overall, 8-0 SEC) from Southeastern Conference and the undefeated Utah Utes (12-0 overall, 8-0 SEC) from the Mountain West Conference. The game is scheduled for January 2 at 8:00 p.m. and will be televised live on FOX. This will be the first meeting between the schools. Utah is 0-6 against SEC teams, although it hasn’t played one since a loss at Tennessee in 1984.
Alabama surprised the nation in 2008 starting out the season 12-0 and coming only a quarter short of going undefeated and making it to the BCS Championship Game. They ultimately lost the SEC Championship Game to Florida, but still managed to make the Sugar Bowl. “Our players are certainly disappointed,” coach Nick Saban said. “But this is an opportunity. If you’re going to be a great team, when you lose, you want to come back and play your best the next time you play.”
Utah on the other hand did manage to go undefeated in 2008. They play in a weaker Mountain West Conference, but still put up strong numbers and good wins. They are 10-3 all-time in Bowl games, so don’t think for a minute they’ll be scared of Alabama (remember the 2005 Fiesta Bowl?) Utah, sixth in the BCS standings, is the first school from a non-BCS conference to play in a second BCS game since the format was created in 1998.
A quick note about the game from ESPN:
Alabama (12-1) had hoped to spend its break in Miami at the BCS National Championship Game, but the Allstate Sugar Bowl isn’t a shabby consolation prize. The Crimson Tide have fond memories of the Big Easy, too. Their last national championship, in 1992, came after they knocked off Miami in the Sugar Bowl. Nothing about Utah will be easy. The Utes (12-0) are looking to earn some more respect after mowing through their Mountain West Conference schedule. — Chris Low
Any predictions for the Sugar Bowl?
The Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee will host the East Carolina Pirates (9-4 overall, 6-2 C-USA) from Conference USA and the Kentucky Wildcats (6-6 overall, 2-6 SEC) from the Southeastern Conference. The game is scheduled for January 2 at 5:00 p.m. and will be televised live on ESPN. Kentucky won the only previous game between the teams, 6-3 on Nov. 13, 1993.
East Carolina had one of their best years in history and are rewarded with a matchup in the Liberty Bowl against the Kentucky Wildcats. The Wildcats had a disappointing season and just squeeked into the Bowl by getting 6 wins. The Pirates are looking for their first 10 win season since 1993.
“It’s going to be a phenomenal trip,” said Holtz, in his fourth season at East Carolina. “This is what we’ve talked about beginning with the first day of practice — the road to Memphis and what we’ve got to do to get there. I can’t tell you how excited we are as a program and as a university to be there.”
The Wildcats started the 2008 season with one of the best defenses in the SEC. However, about midway through the season they started to fall a part. They gave up an average of 35.4 in the last five games and lost three straight to end the season.
A quick note about the game from ESPN:
The time off should be especially beneficial for Kentucky, which looked like it might be running out of gas toward the end of the season. The Wildcats (6-6) lost four of their last five games and go up against an East Carolina team that recovered from a three-game losing streak during the middle of the season. The Pirates (9-4) beat Tulsa 27-24 on Saturday to win the Conference USA championship game. — Chris Low
Any predictions for the Liberty Bowl?