It's the Second Day of Hogmanay
While the rest of Britain is beginning to return to normality after a seasonal binge, Scotland is still going strong. Hogmanay is the Scottish equivalent of New Year’s Day... only a lot colder and often strung out over two days, meaning that the 2nd January is always a bank holiday in Scotland.
If you happen to live in Scotland, then why not kick off today's celebrations with a hearty Atholl Brose, and if you don't live in Scotland, then why not mix a Scottish Breakfast and make a toast to an extended New Year.
It's also Ancestor's Day in Haiti
Haitians celebrated their Independence day yesterday and today the festivities continue with Jour des Aieux (Ancestors' Day).
Ancestor's Day, is a time for Haitians to remember their forefathers, the people who lost their lives in the struggle for Haitian independence and, of course, to sit down for an enormous family meal.
Many Haitians today still follow Vodou (Voodoo), a belief system which includes worshipping spirits, so Ancestors Day has a particular resonance in this troubled country, which pulp fiction suggests is the home of the zombie.
According to one gullible ethnobotanist, Haitian vodou priests used to create real 'live' zombies by putting human beings into death-like comas then drugging them with suppressants - yes! Exactly like in Live and Let Die! However, we do like to create our own Zombies: will suppressants are optional, but coma has been known to follow. We recommend Jeff "Beachbum" Berry's reconstruction of Donn the Beachcomber's original Zombie recipe as featured in his excellent Intoxica book.
Today has also been designated National Motivation And Inspiration Day
If ever a day were invented to counterpoint the differences between Britain and the US, today would be it. For today, as Britons grapple with the painful, dehydrated, bloated feeling that follows inexorably upon Christmas and New Year, across the pond folk are springing into action.
In America today is, of course, National Inspiration and Motivation Day, the only day invented by a motivational speaker to have achieved an approving mention in Congress. Yes, really.
In the wake of 9/11, one Kevin L. McCrudden, President of Motivate America (no, us neither), appointed today as a day to help Americans become "the very best U that U can be", establish realistic annual goals and work meaningfully towards the achievement of those goals.
The Blacks And Whites Carnival Starts Today
One of few carnivals around the world to have acquired world cultural status from UNESCO - it's not just reserved for stones and bones, who knew?! - the Carnival of Blacks and Whites formally begins today in Pastos, a city in the Colombian Andes.
A very, very old celebration, the carnival dates back to festivals for the moon goddess held by ancient native American cultures. Over time, traditions were added from Spanish fiestas and African feasts, producing a multicultural and multiethnic festival.
The 4th is family day, with floats and retro costumes, the 5th is the Day of the Blacks, when folk paint their clothes and bodies with black face paint, and the 6th is the Day of the Whites, when folk throw talcum powder at each other. Yes! A Colombian festival that culminates in white powder. Who'dathunkit? We'll be celebrating rather more tamely, with a Black & White Daiquiri.