Traditions Old and New (plus Jingles!): A Dancing Rabbit Update

 It was Sharon’s fault, really, the jingle-based song circle we had last Wednesday night. We didn’t sing catchy old commercial tunes the entire time, thankfully, just the first 20 minutes or so, by which time Aurelia was practically begging us to stop. [See further in the piece for more juicy details, but please note that the author cannot be held responsible for any earworms you may experience…]

Tereza here, with a turning-of-the-year weekly update from Dancing Rabbit.

I guess it makes sense to start with the most momentous event of the week. Yes, it’s true, I refilled wood for my house stove for the upcoming cold spell! (What? That’s not very interesting to most of you? Or important? Weird.) OK, how ‘bout this: I made incredibly yummy black-eyed peas for New Year’s Day dinner. (No? Wow, what a tough audience.) Oooo, wait, I know! The New Year! Yes, indeedy, we had a good time enacting traditions old and new at our New Year’s Eve party…

A shiny new greeting for a shiny New Year, on the chalkboard in the Great Room. Photo by Thomas.

The party happened in the Common House Great Room, with many snacks, drinks, and informal DJs (including Taylor, Aurelia, Thomas, Ted, Nathan, Loren, and I, taking turns finding tunes on various small devices). A varied, though some might say odd, mix of songs were played, with everything from “Disco Inferno”, “What Does the Fox Say” and “Party Rock Anthem”, to “Take on Me”, “As Cool As I Am” and “My Shot” (from Hamilton). It was so fun!

Folks made song requests using a high-tech DJ request form (writing them on an envelope from recycling), and quite a few numbers played that no one but the requester really seemed to know. But we’re like that here, we try hard to support folks in what excites them.

One new NYE tradition this year came via Sharon from South America, where folks make a scarecrow-like creature and burn it, representing letting go of the old year. Sharon and Aurelia made a none-too-attractive being, stuffed it with straw and newspapers, and dressed it in old clothes. We lit it on fire (safely out in the road) around 9pm CST, with most party attendees circled around and cheering as the old year burned. Some also jumped the flames as they died down, but after Thomas singed his beard I decided to give that a miss.

In keeping with our usual tradition of celebrating the New Year several different times throughout the evening (to accommodate folks’ varying bedtimes and party-length preferences), we began with Newfoundland New Year, at 9:30 pm CST. I maybe wasn’t the only one thinking fondly of former work exchangers Kale and Amy in Newfoundland, as we counted down, shouted “Happy New Year!”, and toasted and hugged. But then, given all the dancing and laughter and such, we sort of lost track of it at 10 and 11pm, and only remembered again at midnight our time.

Loren, Thomas, Ted and Danielle were part of the late night, er, very early morning crew, who helped Nathan and I celebrate our fifth anniversary by staying up late with us and playing perhaps one of the most ridiculous games of Apples to Apples ever. It was fun and silly and maybe next time we’ll make sure Loren knows how to play before we begin.

OK, I know you’ve all been waiting: what about those jingles? [Final warning! Possible earworms ahead! Read on at your own risk!] It started when, at Ironweed dinner, Sharon mentioned a podcast about commercial jingles, and a well-known candy bar jingle, which in that moment (surprisingly enough given how darn catchy it is) none of us could accurately recall. We let it go, and went on with other topics, but just after Ted and I left the kitchen, on our way to song circle in the Common House, he busted out with it: “Gimme a break, gimme a break, break me off a piece of that ___ ___ bar.”


It was all downhill, though quite fun, from there. Nathan joined the two of us and Aurelia in the Great Room, and we decided to sing it for Sharon as a surprise when she came in. In the meantime (Sharon was cleaning up after dinner so was a bit late), we started in on other (far too memorable) jingles: “Your fresh breath goes on and on, while you chew it! Say goodbye a little longer, make it last a little longer, give your breath long-lasting freshness with __ __!”

When Sharon came we all sang the first one together (she had also remembered it just as we had left), and then… it was almost like we couldn’t stop ourselves, we sang more jingles (“My bologna has a first name…” and “_____ _____, the taste the taste the taste is gonna mo-oove ya!”). As if that wasn’t bad enough, we then moved on to cereal slogans (“They’re grrrrr-eat!” “He won’t eat it, he hates everything” “You silly rabbit, ____ are for kids!”).


Poor (or much more accurately, lucky) Aurelia, a ten-year-old raised here at DR, of course knew exactly zero of them. Eventually, after enough pleading, we were able to wind it up and move on to more usual song circle fare, and proceeded to have a lovely time.

I can’t help but wonder, though, about the impact on me of all those catchy ads over the years, and how much better Aurelia’s brain might be able to work, without all the mindless commercial gunk in there…

And to end, while I know the change is only some arbitrary number on the calendar, having no actual meaning, I for one am quite happy to say fare-thee-well to 2016 and hi there to 2017.

Here’s wishing all of you a joyous New Year!

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community and nonprofit outside Rutledge, in northeast Missouri, focused on demonstrating sustainable living possibilities. Find out more about us by visiting our website, reading our blog, or emailing us.

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