There are as many customs for guaranteeing a safe, prosperous, healthy New Year as there are combinations of resolutions. Here are a few superstitions you may not be aware of.
1) Nothing should leave your home on New Years Day. Don't even take the garbage out. What's in the house, stays in the house. If you allow something (anything) to leave, you are said to be opening the gates for loss throughout the year.
2) Eating Black-eyed peas on New Year's Day is a Southern tradition said to promise prosperity and general good luck.
3) Eating twelve grapes at midnight is a Spanish custom also said to bring good luck. For what it's worth, this writer experienced one of their worst years ever after eating 12 grapes at midnight on New Year's Eve.
4) The concept of work (employment) is confusing on New Year's Day. It is said that you must in some way acknowledge your employment in order to "secure" a place for it in the next year. However, working on New Year's Day is said to be very bad luck and will result in your working twice as hard for half the pay in the coming year. Some compromise must be reached.
5) Washing clothes is a definite no-no on New Year's Day. Superstition has it that washing clothes is tantamount to washing away a person, or having a person die in the upcoming year.
So far New Year's Day is shaping up nicely. You can mention your employment, not actually do any work, certainly no laundry. You can't empty the garbage. All you've eaten so far though is grapes and black-eyed peas, so let's move on.
6) Sauerkraut and pork are staples for New Year's Day. The pig (pork) is eaten because it is said that a pig cannot rout backwards and therefore is only concerned with moving forward. The sauerkraut - well, let's just say it's a cleansing ritual.
7) Egyptians once believed that onions kept evil spirits away; so many New Year's dishes with Egyptian roots will include onions.
8) The number 8 in Chinese represents prosperity, so if possible things should be done in eights on New Year's Day.
9) Lobster is avoided on New Year's because a lobster walks backwards and may result in a backslide in finances in a New Year.
10) Some use onions as a means of predicted the weather for the New Year. 3 onions are quartered and salted. Each quarter represents a month.
Onions are used to predict the weather of the New Year. Six onions are cut in half at midnight. The cut side is salted. Each half is designated as one month of the year. In the morning the onions are examined and the onions that still have salt represent dry months. If the salt has bee dissolved, the month will be wet.
11) The Dutch believe it is important to "eat out the Old Year and Eat In the New" so they start a meal before midnight and finish it after, just to be sure there is food all year.
And finally we have this superstition from Romania.
12) Although it is said that farm animals talk on New Year's Day, it is important to avoid the animals because hearing them talk is very bad luck.
Whatever your superstitions or beliefs - do your part to make it a good year!
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