Happy New Year, friends! For today’s Throwback Thursday, I’m going to share what I did for New Year’s Day a decade ago. It’s no secret that I don’t usually have the best of luck, and not for my lack of trying either. (I’m half-smiling when I tell you this story. I don’t really believe in “luck” or lucky talismans, etc. However, I also don’t believe when some people say that, “You make your own luck,” because you might be trying harder than anyone, but circumstances beyond your control get in your way, which is usually the case with me. So please take the seriousness of my expectations in this story with a grain of salt.)
Anyway, as I said, I’m not the most fortunate person, and 2004 was excessively bad, if not one of the worst years I’ve ever had. So as 2005 approached, I happened to run across an article that had New Year’s traditions from around the world that were supposed to bring good luck and fortune. I thought it might be fun to just try the different traditions, which, if nothing else, might be a fun way to ring in the new year, or at least to make sure the old one went away.
In China, Thailand, and Colonial America, making loud noise at midnight was supposed to scare away demons. My sister, my kids, and I all got our cowbells and some pots and wooden spoons, and we were as loud as we could be.
In the South, we eat black-eyed peas for good luck. (And when I say “we” I mean people that are actually NOT me who like black-eyed peas. I do not.) In Spain, twelve grapes are to be consumed at midnight (which has something to do with the wine growers in the region deeming it lucky, I think). In the Philippines, you’re supposed to eat ring-shaped foods to symbolize coming full circle which will lead to good fortune. Well, the kids and I struggled through a single bite of black-eyed peas. (My sister liked them, so she was happy.) We all struggled through the grapes. (They were good, but it’s not as easy as you might think to eat twelve in less than a minute!) And we had bites of bagels, Cheerios, donuts, Bagel Bites pizzas, Life Savers, gummy rings, onion rings, Funyons, calamari, and Bundt cake. (We’re nothing if not thorough.)
In parts of South America, wearing yellow or gold underwear at midnight on New Year’s Eve is thought to bring you good fortune with money. (Not only is yellow or gold underwear ugly, but it is NOT easy to find in stores! I don’t know how we managed.)
Someplace in Africa (I believe) had the tradition of making a list of the prior year’s bad fortune and setting it on fire at midnight. (Of course, don’t forget this had to be done while shoving grapes in our mouths and ringing our cowbells.)
In Denmark, you’re supposed to break plates outside your front door. (I have no idea why this is lucky, except that it gives you a nice reason to buy some new plates. However, I didn’t want to break our dishes, so we just bought some cheap ones for the celebration.)
And in Ecuador, you’re supposed to set fire to a scarecrow. (Again, I have no clue why this is lucky.) (I had a mini-scarecrow left over from Halloween that we set on the grill along with the burning list of the previous year’s bad fortune.)
Finally, in America, you’re supposed to kiss the person you want to keep kissing at midnight, but I didn’t have anyone to kiss at that time (which was a small part of the entire year’s bad fortune).
So, all told, we spent a bunch of money on silly props, pissed off the neighbors with the noise of cowbells, banging pots, and wooden spoons, not to mention breaking plates. We smelled of smoke after setting fire to the prior year’s bad list and the scarecrow, got indigestion from eating too many ring-shaped foods before bed, had to endure ugly underpants, had glass by the front door to clean up from the broken plates, and we lost our scarecrow. The new year was only slightly less horrific than the year before, better in some ways, yet worse in others. About the only thing we did succeed in doing was having a fun half hour with all the silliness. Yeah, I’d say it was worth it.
Time to talk: What New Year’s traditions do you observe? What’s the oddest New Year’s tradition you’ve ever seen? What do you do to make your own luck?