So…what do you do on New Year’s Eve – drink yourself silly with friends? Stuff your face with all kinds of good things to eat? Hang out with some buddies at a disco? Get yourself tickets to the hippest party in town?
Interesting as these activities may be, they are nothing compared to what people in some countries are in the habit of doing. Honestly, they could put you to shame with their innovative ideas and daring deeds, you know!
Diving in Sub-zero Temperature
Every heard of Baikal Lake? It is the oldest as well as the deepest lake in the world. It has more water than the five US great lakes put together, and if, through some force of nature, you emptied it of its contents, it would take every river flowing into it an entire year to fill it. Located in south east Siberia, you can imagine what it must be like in winters, with the lake frozen over with a thick layer of ice.
On New Year’s Eve, professional scuba divers, especially from the city of Novosibirsk, dive down 40 meters into this lake in temperatures that go down to -20 degrees while other folks dance around the tree in accordance to a local tradition. The other important figures in this death defying New Year celebrations are Father Frost and the Ice Maiden who, very wisely, stay far away from this whole scuba-diving-inviting-death experience.
New Years at the Cemetery
Speaking of death, the good people of Talca, Chile have a way of incorporating the dead into their New Year’s Eve celebrations. After the late night mass, around 11 o’clock, the doors of the municipal cemetery are opened by the Mayor and people troop in in great numbers to spend some quality time with their dearly departed ancestors. And mind you, this is 11 o’clock at night, not in the morning.
The cemetery is lit up with candles and dim lights (nothing too bright or else the eerie mood will be spoiled) and against a backdrop of classical music people exchange latest news with friends and family who’ve crossed over. Bless their kind hearts – thinking of giving company to those that are already dead and gone (in every sense of the word – physical as well as spiritual) on New Year’s.
So, the next time you are planning a New Year’s Eve celebration, think out of the box, or you are never going to make it to a list like this one! For hints you could try something like jumping off chairs on the stroke of midnight as they do in Denmark or sweating it out in an Incan sauna chamber, Temescal, to cleanse your soul. Or, if you are looking for something more refined, you could always break out into a waltz on the stroke of midnight, as they do in Austria. Remember, think out of the box!