“Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind…”
No, scratch that. We all know that. Let’s talk about some really odd New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day traditions. Some are fairly common — in the south, we eat black-eyed peas and collard greens. But does anybody know why? Black eyed peas are thought to resemble coins, while collard greens presumably resemble cold hard cash, both indicators of financial success and wealth in the new year.
Some swear by a clean house, and by clean, it’s meant every nook and cranny — this is believed to foster an “out with the old, in with the new” atmosphere for the New Year.
Of course, we kiss at midnight, just to foster goodwill. Some even believe whatever you’re doing at midnight, you’ll be doing a lot of for the upcoming year, and that you will be with the people you are with at midnight a lot the next year — so choose wisely!
In certain countries, you shouldn’t be without red underwear as the clock strikes twelve. Red underwear are thought to bring you a happy and successful love life.
According to Beaumont Enterprise, a tradition that originates in Scotland says you should never let a redhead nor a blonde be the first person to cross the threshold of your door on the New Year, as they are thought to bring bad luck. Instead, the “first footer” should be a dark-haired brunette.
If you’re in Spain or Mexico, you’ll find yourself being offered twelve red grapes at midnight. Each one symbolizes a healthy month of the new year.
Don’t forget to fill the containers! In some cultures, if you leave empty containers around, you’ll have an empty life the whole year-long.
If it’s wholeness and prosperity you are after, the people of Greece swear by round doughnuts at midnight, or any round pastry. This is thought to bring closure to the old year, and wholeness to the new one. Many cultures choose to wear polka dots on their clothing, believing that round symbols are a sign of prosperity.
Some believe making loud noises scares away evil spirits, and some believe you should open all doors and windows, in order to let all evil spirits outside.
There is one last tradition that most people could probably get on board with: don’t do any laundry! Although you want a clean house, keep the hamper full: doing laundry on New Year’s means someone in your house will die. The red underwear from last night, well, they will just have to wait.