A brand new year.
Why do we say that?
Specifically, what's up with the word brand in the sentence? Nowadays, in these here parts, the word brand conjures images of trademarked images...words and symbols that sear a particular company into our minds.
Golden arches. "You're in good hands." Lindsay Lohan. All I have to do is mention these things and you are automagically thinking of french fries, insurance, and neverending rehab.
In an earlier century, brand meant something slightly different...though quite a bit the same. Brand was a symbol, seared into the hide of cattle or other livestock...letting the world know who that animal belong to. And before that, the same action was taken with casks of wine.
But neither of these meanings is getting to the point. Why do we call it a brand new year?
According to Yahoo! Answers: The answer to our little mystery lies in the original meaning of "brand," which was "burning or fire," in this case specifically a furnace, forge or kiln. Something "brand new" was an item, whether pottery or forged metal, fresh from the fires of its creation, and the phrase dates back to the late 16th century.
Maybe you should go back up to the 4th paragraph and read it again...THAT was kind of funny, at least...right?
(Starting the year off with a bang...yessiree...)