Yesterday I took delivery of ten little pigs! Five were covered in an unmistakably rich pink sugary icing and the others were made from a sweet dough with plump raisins for their eyes and nose. They were gifts from our thoughtful Swiss and German neighbours, meant to impart good luck to those who eat them…and only when every morsel is eaten (not a problem in this house!). They’ve come to symbolize the turning of a new year in parts of Europe. You only have to walk past a Patisserie window to see the pigs in their many delicious baked forms ready for your consumption. Come to think of it, I also have a fine collection of glass and silver pigs, saved from previous family ski trips to Austria given as gifts by the hotel owners at this time of year.
And just as pigs are associated with New Year celebrations, fireworks it now seems are too. Last night we brought in the New Year in Basel, stood among the crowds lining the banks of the Rhine. In the distance from a barge on Klein Basel, fireworks exploded and danced, pausing before they trickled away into the black night sky. Fireworks have come to epitomize New Year celebrations around the world…a means of bringing people together to reinforce that they’re celebrating a special event, remind them even that they’re having a good time. This year Dubai hosted the world’s largest firework display, outdoing increasingly extravagant celebrations across the globe. Where once people might have first-footed their neighbours or danced and drank their way through the bells, now hoards of people gather (queueing in London from the early hours to get a good vantage point) to gaze up at the choreography of dazzling sounds and colour. And then with the last pop it’s all over. All that money literally gone up in smoke. Maybe it made those watching feel good…or maybe it just helped them feel better about not really knowing what they should be doing nowadays to mark this occasion. This year’s displays were bigger and better than before…surely leaving those organizing next year’s events with a stark dilemma. But hey that’s for another time…Happy New Year !