Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Traditions

So- other than the occasional hangover, there are a lot of traditions surrounding New Year's Day.  In the Catholic church it is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.  (random fact of the post)

A lot of traditions revolve around "good luck food" . Let's look at my family's New Year's food.  I googled around to see if I could find out why we eat this stuff.  ( My grandmother's explanation of eat for good luck or have a bad year - just didn't cut it.)

*  black eyed peas and rice.  A lot of cultures eat beans/peas/lentils for luck.  My mom is from Japan so she makes a sticky azuki beans and rice dish.  I don't know how to make this.  I make black eyed peas.  I did know this as a Southern (US) tradition.  Apparently this goes back to the seige of Vicksburg, MS.  The townsfolk had run out of food when they found a store  of black eyed peas.  SO they bring luck.

* greens - usually collards.  Also apparently a popular choice.  Danish eat Kale, Germans eat cabbage-usually as sauerkraut .  This one is more obvious.  Greens are green.   They sort of resemble money.  So the more greens you eat the more money you will attract for the year. (Good thing- cause you might start repelling people - wink ;P)

* The above two are usually seasoned with pork, ham hocks - I use bacon or smoked sausage.  There are a lot of countries around the globe that eat these too. There seems to be a twofold reason.  Pigs are high fat and represent prosperity.  Also pigs represent forward movement as they push through while they root for food.

* Catfish.  my family has some dissent on this - about 50% go catfish - but the other 50% goes with another fish - so it's always fish.  I found a lot about fish on the New Year.  But not a lot of why.  I mean to me, saying it evolved around the Catholic Churches ban on red meat on religious holidays doesn't really answer why on New Year's.  The only solid answer I found was why Japanese (thanks mom) eat fish on New Year's - roe is for fertility (people and farm animals) shrimp for long life and sardines for good harvest. (my mom uses sardines to fertilize her tomatoes - i think that works 'cause the calcium in the bones prevents blossom end rot)  So big question mark here.

* mac-n-cheese. The only sort of reason I can find (other than it just tastes really good with the above food) is that it's usually yellow and eating food gold in color will put money in your pocket. hmm.

What I also found out are foods not to eat. 

* lobster. because they apparently move backwards. i never really watched a lobster walk except in tanks in seafood stores and restaurants.  There in the tanks I ever paid attention to what direction they were climbing on each other.  But I guess someone watched and since we don't want to regress lobster is out.

* chicken, turkey other fowl.  Several reasons are listed for this.  The two most popular are that as poultry scratches on the ground for food they scratch backwards.  Backwards is bad on New Years as mentioned above.  The second prevalent reason I read, was that since birds fly, you don't want your luck to fly away.

Other weird things.

* Not supposed to take the garbage (or anything else) out, before something new comes in.  I already screwed this one up. Curt took out 4 bags of garbage this morning.

* Supposed to have a full pantry.  Ok check. The Angie's home and I don't want to go to the store when it is crowded, I get confused when stores close early on holidays. So I shop and stock up.

* Not supposed to do laundry on New Year's day, because some one close to you may get "washed away" (die) I guess this is the warped version of my gramma saying you need to do all your laundry before New Year's.  So since I wasn't going to do a load with only 2 days clothes - check.  (It would probably be nice if I put my clothes away though)

* You aren't supposed to break anything.  SO keep my sister in law away from your candy dishes people. Or if you can't avoid that - hide the lids!!

* you are supposed to do a token successful task related to your work.  Not actually work or put forth a lot of exertion - that would be bad luck.  Well, it's not like I could change a bit of flooring can I? And there aren't any trucks I can play with (maybe I need to buy a tonka... I have a Nascar diecast hauler but what would I do with it?)  I'm a team manager for my team in NerdWars -  a fiber based competition on Ravelry - and as out last round ended yesterday, I did do tasks related to that - does that carry over to work?  So after some thought - Carpet is made of yarn. glass tile is a very popular tile we sell.  The wood floor look is also very popular.  I got about 2/3 of the way through my newest fingerless mitts- made with yarn and embellished with glass beads- using wood needles.  It went very smoothly, I got more done than I planned, and no frogging or tinking.  I'm calling this a check. And to be on the safe side - I'm tossing the Christmas rugs in the bathroom in the hamper and putting down the regular ones.  Rugs are rugs right?  And since I anticipate no issues - check.

So tell me:

What do you eat on New Year's??

Are there other things you do or don't do to start the year?

And please - I know it's all superstition.  I don't want a lecture on it. 

happy New Year's everyone!!


  1. Richard thinks I'm totally strange because I won't let him do laundry on New Year's Day.

  2. Hi Ria! I hope you had a great day yesterday and that you did not have to work to hard today. Have a great rest of the week. Theresa


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