Are you tired of the social pressure that surrounds New Year's Eve? Does bar-hopping in the cold sound like a chore, not a celebration? Check out these five ideas for alternative ways to ring in the New Year on New Year's Eve 2011.
There are fireworks at Penn's Landing at 6:00 and midnight on New Year's Eve, and the Blue Cross RiverRink is a prime viewing spot. The annual New Year's Eve Party on Ice at the Blue Cross RiverRink runs from 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. and again from 11:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m. In addition to ice skating, there will be food, family activities, and live entertainment. Don't fear the chill: there's also a heated indoor area at the rink.
If you're excited about the bold Scottish heroine of Disney Pixar's new movie Brave, coming in June, you may want to get tartaned-up for one of the area's Hogmanay celebrations. Hogmanay, the traditional Scottish New Year's Eve celebration, is often celebrated with Scottish dances, or ceilidhs; bonfires or fire performances; and a custom called first-footing. Legend has it that a tall, dark man should be the first to set foot over your doorstep after the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve in order to ensure good luck for the year. Extra points if the firstfoot appears with a lump of coal for the fire, a cake, or a coin. If you offer him food, wine, or whisky in exchange, even better. Some folks go visiting with neighbors at the stroke of midnight; Hogmanay can also involve the exchange of gifts or a kind of progressive dinner around the neighborhood. Hogmanay also involves singing Auld Lang Syne, which was adapted by poet Rabbie Burns from a traditional Scottish poem.
The Delaware Valley Branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society puts on a Hogmanay ball centered on Scottish dancing; this year the lively music will be provided by Saucy Bess with Dan Emery on pipes. The ball will be held at the Germantown Friends School Field House, 42 West School Lane, Philadelphia. More info: www.delvalscottishdance.org
Want to set a tone of serenity for the new year? There's yoga, meditation and mochi at Studio 34 from 8-10 PM. Stretch and chill out with Hatha yoga, pranayama, seated and standing poses. Afterward, drink hot tea and eat mochi, sweet Japanese rice cakes, in the community lounge. And go to bed early, natch. More info: www.studio34yoga.com
Night owls who love hot yoga may prefer the New Year's Eve class at Bikram Yoga in Center City, which starts at 11 PM and ends after midnight. A vegetarian potluck follows. More info: bikramphiladelphia.com
Haddonfield's First Night is one of the most elaborate small town celebrations in the region. Check out the dozens of events on Dec 31 that run day into evening; highlights include Celtic music, mentalist tricks by The Amazing Kreskin, a Beatles singalong, and s a visit from Stony the Llama. More info: firstnighthaddonfield.org/events.php