What you do News Years day , you will do all year-While most of these superstitions and traditions are meant to usher in good luck while keeping bad luck at bay, what you do can reflect how you’ll live in the coming year. Recovering from a big party the night before? Your year will likely include being surrounded by friends and good times. Motivating to work out on New Year’s Day? Well look who might just drop 10lbs in the new year. Cleaning and organizing around the house? Sounds like a year full of getting things done. Sleeping the day away? Maybe you won’t be getting too much done in the new year.
Throughout the ages and in every culture, there are customs and superstitions linked to New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. In this country, bubbles are considered good luck, so imbibers toast the new year with champagne. A piece of gold jewelry placed in your glass supposedly promises wealth, so many pack a bauble. Those we kiss at mignight are destined to remain close to us throughout the year–so place those kisses wisely. And we make noise at midnight–lots of it–allegedly to chase away evil spirits.
For many, January 1 offers an opportunity to forget the past and make a clean start. But instead of leaving everything up to fate, why not enjoy a meal to increase your good fortune? There are a variety of foods that are believed to be lucky and to improve the odds that next year will be a great one. Traditions vary from culture to culture, but there are striking similarities in what’s consumed in different pockets of the world: The six major categories of auspicious foods are grapes, greens, fish, pork, legumes, and cakes.
Food superstitions abound as well, and many are rooted in the South.
• Grapes – 12 of them, one for every month of the year
• Pork – The animal pushes forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving. It signifies wealth, progress and prosperity. Maybe not so lucky for the pig, eh? Click on this link for a fried pork chop recipe
• Black eyed peas –include beans, peas, and lentils symbolic of money. Their small, seed like appearance resembles coins that swell when cooked so they are consumed with financial rewards in mind. In the Southern United States, it’s traditional to eat black-eyed peas or cowpeas in a dish called hoppin’ john. There are even those who believe in eating one pea for every day in the new year. This all traces back to the legend that during the Civil War, the town of Vicksburg ran out of food while under attack. The residents fortunately discovered black-eyed peas and the legume was thereafter considered lucky. Click on this link for a tasty good luck recipe that’s quite tasty and gets you your black-eyed peas and pork all in one meal
• Greens such as collard greens, chard, cabbage and kale – the folds of the greens resemble money and bringing in wealth. It’s widely believed that the more greens one eats the larger one’s fortune next year. Click on this link for a fantastic southern collard green recipe
Fish: Fish is a very logical choice for the New Year’s table. According to Mark Kurlansky, author of Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, cod has been a popular feast food since the Middle Ages. He compares it to turkey on Thanksgiving. The reason? Long before refrigeration and modern transportation, cod could be preserved and transported allowing it to reach the Mediterranean and even as far as North Africa and the Caribbean. Some people have been known to place a few fish scales in their wallets for good luck. Click on this link for a wonderful cod recipe
Corn Bread- Eating anything yellow is good luck as well, as yellow is the color of gold. click here for a great cornbread recipe
Cakes- In certain cultures, it’s customary to hide a special trinket or coin inside the cake. —the recipient will be lucky in the new year. Sweden and Norway have similar rituals in which they hide a whole almond in rice pudding— whoever gets the nut is guaranteed great fortune in the new year.
Hoppin’ John (black-eyed peas and pork) is consumed all over the South on Jan. 1, and is usually served over rice, another food that symbolizes abundance because it swells as it is cooked.
Another tradition holds that counting the number of peas predicts the amount of luck that one will have in the coming year (one pea = one day), so I suppose the optimum serving on New Year’s Day is 365 black-eyed peas. (You know, all of the sudden Jan. 2 doesn’t sound so lucky.)
Conversely, it’s considered bad luck to eat crab or lobster on New Year’s Day, as they move sideways, and no bottom-dwellers either, like catfish, or you may become a bottom-feeder as well. But other fish are OK, because they swim forward. Now it’s very bad luck to eat chicken or turkey, because they scratch backward for food, so anyone consuming this type of poultry is destined to “scratch in the dirt” for food in the upcoming year. Oh, and any kind of beef is out as well, as cows eat standing still, and no one wants to do that.
In this country, we may write down our regrets and toss them into the fire. We might even open the windows and doors at midnight to let the old year escape. In South America, though, they wear red underwear (to catch a mate) or yellow underwear (for prosperity) and some believe better luck is achieved if one wears the underwear backwards. And if it has circles or polka dots on it, all the better, as this symbolizes–you guessed it, coins. On the first day of the year, citizens are encouraged not to work, as that is considered bad luck. It is also bad luck to start off the year doing laundry, or a family member may be washed away.
Makes perfect sense to me. I plan to honor most of these traditions . I will have all the foods needed to bring me my good fortune. I can’t take any chances with my blogging and newly soon to be published book that will come out in the Spring. A Survivors Cookbook Guide to Kicking Hypothyroidism’s Booty. Now where is my yellow polka dot underwear? I will put them on backwards.
What Not to Eat
In addition to the aforementioned lucky foods, there are also a few to avoid. Lobster, for instance, is a bad idea because they move backwards and could therefore lead to setbacks. Chicken is also discouraged because the bird scratches backwards, which could cause regret or dwelling on the past. Another theory warns against eating any winged fowl because good luck could fly away. Beef because the cow stands still.
Now that you know what NOT to eat, there’s one more superstition—that is, guideline—to keep in mind. In Germany, it’s customary to leave a little bit of each food on your plate past midnight to guarantee a stocked pantry in the New Year. Likewise in the Philippines, it’s important to have food on the table at midnight.
18 New Years Superstitions!
- Eating black-eyed peas and greens, I remember this one the most from other years and I remember eating them. Eating them brings good luck and financial prosperity. You are to eat the peas with greens for prosperity. The peas represent good luck and the greens represent money.Other “lucky” foods are lentil soup (because lentils supposedly look like coins), pork (because poultry scratches backwards, a cow stands still, but a pig roots forward, ergo those who dine upon pork will be moving forward in the new year), and sauerkraut (probably because it goes so well with pork). Another oft-repeated belief holds that one must not eat chicken or turkey on the first day of the year lest, like the birds in question, diners fate themselves to scratch in the dirt all year for their dinner (that is, bring poverty upon themselves).
- Nothing goes out of the house, or you will be losing things during the upcoming year. Don’t take out the trash or food or anything, if your trash needs emptying, do it before midnight or on January 2nd. If you have food or anything to take somewhere on New Years day, have it outside or at their house already.
- Kissing at midnight. Kiss someone dear to you at midnight, this will ensure affection for the next 12 months. If you happen to be alone at midnight, kissing the dog or cat would certainly work.
- Don’t cry, don’t cry on New Years day, this could bring unhappiness for the next year. So don’t cry even if your favorite team loses in a bowl game. Be upbeat and happy as well.
- Don’t wash clothes. The dirty clothes can wait until January 2nd. Some super-cautious won’t even wash the dishes on New Years day, I need to go and find the paper plates now.
- No bare cupboards, fill up the cupboards before New Years day, otherwise that could be the way of the New Year.
- Money, don’t lend money or precious items and don’t pay back loans either. To do so means you will be paying out money all year long. Also fill all of your wallets with money since that ensures prosperity for the New Year.
- Open the doors at midnight as this will let out all the bad from the previous year. Now that’s an easy one to do unless its 30 below out, this will let out the bad before the good can come in on New Years day.
- Loud noises, make some noise. This will scare away the evil spirits from entering your life in the next year. I like this one, it makes sense and it’s fun but you need to be careful though since too much loud noise and the cops might show up, and that might not be good for the New Year. Maybe just one yell and two firecrackers.
- Don’t break anything, you should try very hard to not break anything, especially a mirror, as that could be doubly bad as breaking a mirror on any other day, so try not to break anything. And this is another good reason not to do the dishes on New Years Day.
- Work, try and do something work related on New Years Day, just a token or small amount of work, if you do too much work related stuff, then it might not be so good. This one is only for those who have the day off, I wouldn’t think fireman and others would care for this superstition.
- First person entering your home, this superstition is about how the first person who enters your home in the New Year will influence the year you’re about to have. Ideally this person should be tall, dark and good looking. and it would be even better if he came bearing certain small gifts such as a lump of coal, a silver coin, a bit of bread, a sprig of evergreen, and some salt. Blonde and redhead first footers bring bad luck, and female first footers should be shooed away before they bring disaster down on the household. Aim a gun at them if you have to, but don’t let them near your door before a man crosses the threshold. The first footer (sometimes called the “Lucky Bird”) should knock and be let in rather than unceremoniously use a key, even if he is one of the householders. After greeting those in the house and dropping off whatever small tokens of luck he has brought with him, he should make his way through the house and leave by a different door than the one through which he entered. No one should leave the premises before the first footer arrives — the first traffic across the threshold must be headed in rather than striking out. First footers must not be cross-eyed or have flat feet or eyebrows that meet in the middle. Nothing prevents the cagey householder from stationing a dark-haired man outside the home just before midnight to ensure the speedy arrival of a suitable first footer as soon as the chimes sound. If one of the partygoers is recruited for this purpose, impress upon him the need to slip out quietly just prior to the witching hour.
- Which way the wind blows, there isn’t a lot we can do about the weather, but superstition holds that if the wind is out of the South there will be prosperous times ahead. The wind out of the East means famine and calamities and out of the North means a bad year for weather. A little odd but out of the West means plenty of milk and fish. Calm winds means a prosperous and joyful year for all, that’s just great since I just read there is a high wind warning for my area.
- New Clothes: Wear something new on January 1 to increase the likelihood of your receiving more new garments during the year to follow.
- Born on January 1: Babies born on this day will always have luck on their side.
- Fireworks- Fireworks, cheering, singing and noisemakers on New Year’s Eve are believed to scare away evil spirits. Do we really need an excuse to set off fireworks? Probably not. But we’ll take this opportunity to light the sky (and maybe the grass in our neighbor’s yard). Music and singing are a part of most celebrations and I’m pretty sure the 20 people doing a poor job of singing “Don’t Stop Believing” at 1AM aren’t concerned with keeping evil away in the new year.
- Making Resolutions- Many believe the first day of the New Year should be spent thinking about the past year and resolving to improve oneself in the coming year. And while the media recycles old stories about quitting smoking or getting out of debt and your parents use new year’s resolutions as a guilt-inducing tactic to get you to move out of their basement or pay back what you owe them not all resolutions have to be a life-altering ordeal. Resolve small in the New Year and you’ll feel good that you got something accomplished.
- Don’t eat lobster -they move backwards and could therefore lead to setbacks
- Don’t eat chicken- the bird scratches backwards, which could cause regret or dwelling on the past. Another theory warns against eating any winged fowl because good luck could fly away.
- Don’t eat beef- because the cow stands still and so will you.
Happy New Year Everyone!
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