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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

5th Day of Christmas: five gold rings. Thing To Do Today.

Tomorrow is the New Year's Eve, when we ring out the old Year and then, on the stroke of midnight, begin to ring in the new.

In England, the ringing for the death of the Old Year is done with leather pads (muffles) tied to one side of the clappers of the bells (the clappers are the waggly drumstick-like things that strike the sides of the bell to make the noise). This means that alternate dongs of the bell sound muffled and echoing. It's the way bells in England are rung as a sign of mourning.

Just before midnight, some brave souls will climb up to the dark and chilly bell chamber, climb over the bell frame, and take off the muffles. (And if you're wondering what's so brave about that, the bells, the largest of which may weigh more than a ton, are balanced most precariously with their mouths facing upwards: 

one incautious step and you're likely to get clobbered by a ton of falling metal.)

Once the muffles are taken off then the New Year can be rung in with celebratory style. If you can hear them for all the fireworks.

Anyway, ringing. This is easy to do, even without a bell, whether you ring a friend or a relative on the telephone or walk in a circle round a tree. 

If those sound dull then you can ring the changes (another bell-ringing expression, like ringing in the New Year) by doing something, anything, unusual.

Yes, why not ring down the curtain (a theatrical expression) on your usual way of doing things. Walk the other way home. Try that food you've never fancied. Read some Vietnamese fairy stories (highly recommended).

Above all, take a ringside seat and get ready to enjoy the spectacle and adventure of what is sure to be an astonishing New Year.

Thing To Do Today: ring. This word comes from the Old English hringan, which is probably an imitation of the sound it makes.

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