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Welcoming 2018 in Wentworth

Martha Wilson and Eleanor Sprague organize a New Year’s Party in Wentworth.
Martha Wilson and Eleanor Sprague organize a New Year’s Party in Wentworth. - Hope Bridgewater

Wentworth News with Hope Bridgewater

WENTWORTH – Eleanor Sprague and Martha Wilson on Dec. 31, 2017 organized a New Year's party located at the downstairs hall of the Wentworth United Church.

People attended from Wentworth, Oliver, Tatamagouche, and Wallace.

Between 8 and 9 p.m. most had come to be greeted by tables set up for the playing of the favourite game auction 45s and a long table up front with food for snacks.

Research shows that we are playing a game which reaches back in time to 1511 in Scotland when it was seen being played and called Maw.

Rules were written down about 1576. King James VI of Scotland (later, King James I of England) liked playing Maw and made it popular at court and and his kingdom. Glad he did, because when the early settlers from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales came to eastern Canada (Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, P.E.I.) and American states such as Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, they brought Auction 45's with them, often with different names such as 45, Forte Fives, Auction 120s, 120, Growl, Spoil Five, Maw, and Strong Fives, usually with slightly different rules but all recognizable as the same game.

We played four at a table for eight rounds, bidding done, winning couple moved to the next table and the losing couple stayed put. At the end, a winning person could be announced. As we played, we had to pay attention to the rules and could not talk too much so as not to get behind with scores.

At about 10:30, we stopped for a lunch, had time to talk and greet one another.

At about 11:30 p.m., we were given horns to blow when the clock struck midnight and waited in suspense as the minutes ticked by.

Then, suddenly, it was midnight and everyone blew their horns with group enthusiasm. Then, greetings and hugs took place with everyone smiling. Year 2018 will have its problems, but why not enjoy greeting it anyway.

Then, the singing of Auld Lang Syne began: “Should old acquaintance be forgot/ And never bought to mind?/Should old acquaintance be forgot and old lang syne?/ For old lang syne, my dear, for old lang syne/ We'll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.” 

Once again, we go back in history to Robert Burns, a Scottish poet, who wrote this poem based on a old folk tale he heard from an old man, and put it to the music of an ancient Scottish folk song. Auld Land Syne has been translated into many languages and is now sung all over the world at the greeting of a new year. One great example of this was once on the BBC News at a special concert, Auld Lang Syne was performed at the same time in 41 different languages, all singing done in unison.

As well as celebrating the new year, Auld Lang Syne is used to represent other endings and new beginning at weddings, farewells, hymns, sports events, memorials of Robert Burns, national anthems, etc. It was nice to think we were joined by thousands in greeting the year 2018.

Another event to remember on the first week in the new year of 2018 is Epiphany, the coming of the three wise men (Magi) to the stable where Jesus was born. The twelve days of Christmas is still celebrated when not just one day is honoured but 12 days extending from Christmas Day to Epiphany on Jan. 6.

At Epiphany, the three wise men arrived with their gifts for Jesus and initiated the custom of giving presents at Christmas. The tradition of singing the Twelve Days of Christmas was begun in past times when joyful counting songs were in fashion and still exists today. In 2018 the 12 days of Christmas is honoured at many homes and institutions where lights and decorations remain in place until January 6 in order to remember the Magi and  Epiphany.

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