Some Traditions to bring you luck for the New Year

  1. Have some “Hoppin’ John”. It’s said that if you make this dish of pork, beans, and rice, you will have luck and peace for the rest of the year. According to “Hoppin’ John was, and still is, often eaten with collard greens, which can resemble paper money, and “golden” cornbread. The peas themselves represent coins. Some families boost the potential of their Hoppin’ John by placing a penny underneath the dishes—or adding extra pork, which is thought to bring more luck. Our modern Hoppin’ John eschews pork in favor of smoked turkey thighs, which bring flavor but less fat to the meal. We add jalapeños and red bell pepper for a bit of color and spice, and serve the whole thing atop freshly steamed white rice.”
  2. Where I live, in the PA Dutch country, we eat pork and sauerkraut for luck. The theory is that pigs root forward and eating pork helps you move ahead. You should not eat chicken because chicken’s scratch backward, and I’m pretty sure none of us wants to redo 2020.
  3. If pork is not for you, try a fish dish. Fish swim in one direction much like the passage of time. Some think fish will bring you luck.
  4. A kiss at midnight signifies love for the year. A kiss anytime is a good idea in my book.
  5. If you happen to be going to Brazil, wear white, it’s a symbol of good luck. While there, try to jump over 7 waves, making a wish on each one.
  6. Eat 12 grapes precisely at midnight and you must finish all of them by the time the clock is done chiming 12. It will bring you good luck, supposedly. Do not try this with small children or you’ll be having a Heimlich holiday.
  7. If you’d like to travel more this year (who wouldn’t), and you’re in Columbia, hoist and empty suitcase and run around the block. In fact, try this in your own neighborhood, you may find you get immediate travel to a padded room.
  8. For those of you in New York, smash your peppermint pig. When you buy these treats they come with a special little hammer. Everyone gets a turn hitting the pig and eating a little piece of the very strong peppermint candy. This also helps with the kissing tradition as you will have minty breath.
  9. Dump a bucket of water out the window to let out the evil spirits and sprinkle a little sugar by the door to entice sweet times in the new year. You’ll see this in Puerto Rico. If you’re in a warm climate it may also bring ants (not aunts).
  10. If you find yourself in Denmark, jump off a chair into the good fortune of the new year or into the chair of the orthopaedist.
  11. Open a window just a bit to let the old year out and the new year in. I’m a big fan of this one as I think a little fresh air is always a good thing. Especially now.
  12. In Latin America for the holiday? Choose your underwear wisely, the color will have meaning for the next 12 months. Yellow for luck, red for love, and white for peace. Boxers or briefs? I don’t think it matters.
  13. Spending the holiday in Austria or Germany (probably not this year)? Find yourself a good luck charm shaped like a pig, mushroom, clover, or chimney sweep. You can also get one in marzipan. Yum!
  14. A very common tradition is to write a wish for next year and put it in a jar. Next New Year’s Eve, take them out and read them. My guess would be that most will wish for a return to normalcy.
  15. Some say that whatever you’re doing at midnight will be what you’ll be doing in the Next Year. This is the tradition I taught my children. We try to be with loved ones, though this year that will be more difficult. It’s likely that at midnight I will be trying to get two small boys to go to sleep. And for me, having my grandchildren close is how I’d really like to spend 2021.

May all of you spend New Year’s Eve in a happy, healthy, and safe place, enjoying the traditions near to your heart.


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