For many, the beginning of the New Year offers an opportunity to forget the past and make a clean start. Some people believe in good luck ‘rituals’ that have been passed down from generations long ago.
Traditions vary from culture to culture:
Cooked greens, including cabbage, collards, kale, and chard, are consumed at New Year’s in different countries for a simple reason — their green leaves look like folded money, and are thus symbolic of economic fortune. It’s widely believed that the more greens one eats the larger one’s fortune next year.
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. The residents fortunately discovered black-eyed peas and the legume was thereafter considered lucky. Pork is also consumed in Italy and the United States, where thanks to its rich fat content, it signifies wealth and prosperity.
Many of the superstitions associated with the event bear the common theme that activities engaged in on that day set the pattern for the year to come. Others have to do with warding off evil spirits or attracting luck.
Because January 1 is the first day of the new year, a connection has been drawn between what one does on that day and their fate throughout the rest of the year. Here are some of the ways people attempt to guarantee a good outcome through acts on that portentous first day:
We kiss those dearest to us at midnight not only to share a moment of celebration with our favorite people, but also to ensure those affections and ties will continue throughout the next twelve months. To fail to smooch our significant others at the stroke of twelve would be to set the stage for a year of coldness.
Nothing — absolutely nothing, not even garbage — is to leave the house on the first day of the year. If you’ve presents to deliver on New Year’s Day, leave them in the car overnight. Don’t so much as shake out a rug or take the empties to the recycle bin.
A tradition common to the southern states of the USA dictates that the eating of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day will attract both general good luck and financial good fortune in particular to the one doing the dining. Some choose to add other Southern fare (such as ham hocks, collard greens, or cabbage) to this tradition, but the black-eyed peas are key.