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TRIVIA, BRAINTEASERS
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New Year Trivia Quiz

1. Who added the month of January to the calendar?
a. Greeks b. Phoenicians c. Egyptians d. Romans

2. In which country do families dress a stuffed male doll with old clothes from each member of the family and then burn it, symbolizing forgetting all the bad things of the old year?
a. Hungary b. Angola c. Colombia d. Yugoslavia

3. In which country do they eat 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight (one each time the clock chimes) on New Year's Eve?
a. Canada b. Vietnam c. Spain d. Israel

4. January is named after Janus. What was he the god of?
a. winter b. doors and gates c. weather d. cleanliness

5. In which country do people eat noodles while listening to a bell start ringing and strike 108 times?
a. Germany b. Nigeria c. Japan d. Mexico

6. What flower is the symbol of January?
a. rose b. chrysanthemum c. carnation d. orchid

7. In which country do people wear white clothes in order to have good luck during the new year and also go to the beach to jump seven waves and throw flowers in the sea while making a wish?
a. Italy b. Spain c. Brazil d. France

8. What is January's gem?
a. topaz b. agate c. garnet d. onyx

9. In which country does "St. Basil" fill the children's shoes with presents at midnight?
a. Spain b. Ecuador c. Greece d. Ireland

10. Who said the "blast of January would blow you through and through"?
a. Milton b. Tennyson c. Chaucer d. Shakespeare

11. In which country do people who want to travel take a suitcase and carry it around the house on New Year's Eve?
a. The United States b. Venezuela c. The Philippines d. Egypt

12. When is national pie day?
a. January 2nd b. January 17th c. January 23rd d. January 30th

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ANSWERS:

1. Who added the month of January to the calendar?
d. Romans: The first reform of the calendar was attributed to Numa Pompilius, the second of the seven traditional Kings of Rome. He is said to have reduced the 30-day months to 29 days and to have added January (29 days) and February (28 days) to the end of the calendar around 713 BC, and thus brought the length of the calendar year up to 355 days.

2. In which country do families dress a stuffed male doll with old clothes from each member of the family and then burn it, symbolizing forgetting all the bad things of the old year?
c. Colombia:
Families stuff a life-size male doll with things that have bad memories or sadness associated with them, and then they dress it up in old clothes from each family member; then they set 'Mr. Old Year' on fire at the stroke of midnight. Burning "Mr. Old Year" is a New Year's tradition found among Colombians, Cubans, Puerto Ricans and Ecuadorians.

3. In which country do they eat 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight (one each time the clock chimes) on New Year's Eve?
c. Spain: New Year's Eve in Spain is called "Nochevieja - The Old Night". Unlike many Spanish traditions the eating of grapes ("tomar las uvas") is of quite recent vintage. Early in the twentieth century, freak weather conditions resulted in an unseasonable bumper harvest of grapes. At a loss over what to do about so many grapes at Christmas time, the King of Spain and the grape growers came up with the idea of the New Year ritual.

4. January is named after Janus. What was he the god of?
b. doors and gates: January was named after Janus, a sky-god who was ancient even at the time of Rome's founding. Early Romans believed that the beginning of each day, month and year were sacred to Janus. They thought he opened the gates of heaven at dawn to let out the morning, and that he closed them at dusk. This eventually led to his worship as the god of all doors, gates, and entrances.

5. In which country do people eat noodles while listening to a bell start ringing and strike 108 times?
c. Japan: Late on the evening of December 3 1, everyone would eat a bowl of buckwheat noodles called "toshikoshisoba" ("year-crossing noodles") and listen for the sound of the Buddhist temple bells, which were rung 108 times at midnight. The sound of these bells is said to purify the listeners of the 108 sins or evil passions that plague every human being.

6. What flower is the symbol of January?
c. carnation: There are different theories on how this flower was named. One theory was that the carnation was named for coronation, because of how the carnations were used to make ceremonial crowns, or flower garlands, in Greece. Otherwise known as "dianthus" or "pinks," these flowers with their large ruffled blooms have a spicy clove smell.

7. In which country do people wear white clothes in order to have good luck during the new year and also go to the beach to jump seven waves and throw flowers in the sea while making a wish?
c. Brazil: Most people wear white clothes on New Year's Eve to bring good luck and peace for the year that will follow. If they are in a beach city, after midnight people go to the beach, jump seven waves and throw flowers in the sea while making a wish. They say that the goddess who protects the sea will make their wishes come true. Because of that, some people also light candles in the sand on the beach.

8. What is January's gem?
c. garnet: Garnet received its name from the Latin word for pomegranate ("grana-tum") because its crystals reminded early scientists of pomegranate seeds. Primitive cultures believed garnets could be used to stop bleeding and cure inflammation.

9. In which country does "St. Basil" fill the children's shoes with presents at midnight?
c. Greece: New Year's Day is also the Festival of Saint Basil in Greece. Children leave their shoes by the fireside on New Year's Day with the hope that Saint Basil, who was famous for his kindness, will come and fill their shoes with gifts.

10. Who said the "blast of January would blow you through and through"?
d) Shakespeare: "You'd be so lean, that blast of January Would blow you through and through. Now, my fair'st friend, I would I had some flowers o' the spring that might Become your time of day." William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale, Act IV Scene 4.

11. In which country do people who want to travel take a suitcase and carry it around the house on New Year's Eve?
b. Venezuela: In Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, and Mexico, those with hopes of traveling in the New Year carry a suitcase around the house at midnight. Some even carry it around the block for a few extra frequent flyer miles.

12. When is national pie day?
c. January 23rd: Created by the American Pie Council, National Pie Day is dedicated to the celebration of pie. Pie has been around since the ancient Egyptians. The first pies were made by early Romans who may have learned about it through the Greeks. These pies were sometimes made in "reeds" which were used for the sole purpose of holding the filling and not for eating with the filling. The Romans must have spread the word about pies around Europe as the Oxford English Dictionary notes that the word pie was a popular word in the 14th century. The first pie recipe was published by the Romans and was for a rye-crusted goat cheese and honey pie. The early pies were predominately meat pies. Pyes (pies) originally appeared in England as early as the twelfth century. The crust of the pie was referred to as "coffyn". There was actually more crust than filling. Often these pies were made using fowl and the legs were left to hang over the side of the dish and used as handles. Fruit pies or tarts (pasties) where probably first made in the 1500s. English tradition credits making the first cherry pie to Queen Elizabeth I. Pie came to America with the first English settlers. As in the Roman times, the early American pie crusts often were not eaten, but simply designed to hold the filling during baking. It was during the American Revolution that the term crust was used instead of coffyn. Over the years, pie has evolved to become what it is today "the most traditional American dessert". Pie has become so much a part of American culture throughout the years, that we now commonly use the term "as American as apple pie".

~ From Various Trivia Sites throughout the Internet


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