In the mid 1950s Horace Miner explored the Nacerima culture of North America. I’ve recently been exposed to this culture myself, and I’d like to share my insight on a particular Nacerima ceremony.
On the last day of the Nacerima year, about four hours before the start of the next, the natives perform some very peculiar rituals. One such act is an almost universal Nacerima experience, but one that would seem extremely odd to an outsider. While much of the night is filled with singing and dancing, about one minute before the start of the subsequent year, a massive orb of light is slowly lowered from the sky as onlookers count down. Some natives may not be able to witness this event first hand, but it is broadcast to every citizen via a magic box that they all have at least one of in their household. The Nacerima that do make it to witness the magic light orb, however, have a truly one of a kind experience. And when the temperature in the area drops well below freezing , as it’s been known to, it really tests their commitment to the event. It also tested my commitment to my anthropological studies. Once the orb reaches its destination and the new year has arrived, the natives begin a more extensive celebration that for some lasts only a few more minutes (people do like to sleep), and for some can last well into the morning.
Once this celebration is finally over and the last of the previous year has been forgotten, the Nacerima return to business as usual. I myself needed more than the next day to recover from the events, but I’d say the insights I’ve gained into this culture were well worth it. To others planning a visit to this area I support your decision. However, I would recommend a warmer travel date.