Mouse meets New Year’s Eve

Work of art at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Scotland

There’s a charming mouse sculpture, an homage to a 1785 poem, on the grounds of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, Scotland. Burns’ “Auld Lang Syne” poem of 1788 is the basis for the song so many of us associate with New Year’s Eve. Maybe we should all resolve to actually learn the words this year.

Once, during college travels ala BritRail Pass, I had the pleasure of singing “Auld Lang Syne” in Scotland on New Year’s Eve — but this New Year’s Eve finds me celebrating with computer and mouse in hand. I’m reliving earlier trips to New York City while waiting to watch the famous ball drop in NYC’s Times Square.

Turns out you can learn a lot about New Year’s Eve celebrations by visiting the Times Square Alliance online. Their website has nifty articles on the history of New Year’s Eve, the tradition of dropping the New Year’s Eve ball and more. Even fun facts about messages celebrities and ordinary folk have written on the confetti that’s dropped over Times Square at midnight. Seems Matthew Broderick wrote a simple one word wish for “Peace.”

While exploring the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, I found an Arlene Erlbach book titled “Happy New Year, Everywhere” — something I wish I’d encountered when my now college-age children were younger. Erlbach explores the New Year’s greetings and traditions in 20 countries, including Belgium, Haiti, Iran and Israel — and features a related recipe, craft or activity from each one.

But back to the man and his mouse. Those of you who can’t swing the trip to Scotland can still enjoy the works of Robert Burns currently exhibited at The Morgan Library and Museum in New York City. It’s a charming museum that should be on the “must see” list of every lover of literature who visits NYC. During a recent visit, I enjoyed an exhibit featuring the works of Charles Dickens. Their “Robert Burns and Auld Lang Syne” exhibit runs through Feb. 5, 2012.

Thanks to museums, and my mouse, I’m having a lovely New Year’s Eve while enjoying my own holiday traditions — steering clear of drunken revelers, baking cookies and waiting for fireworks to light up Valley skies.

— Lynn

Note: For families in Japan, Haiti and other places struck by natural disasters in recent years, this will be a bittersweet New Year’s Eve — so remember those in need both at home and abroad as you’re enjoying all the comforts of home.

Coming up: Exploring the New York Public Library, A double dose of “Romeo & Juliet”

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