Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Five Ways to Celebrate New Year's Eve

Beyond making resolutions and staying up too late, how do other people celebrate the coming of the new year? Here are five ways you might consider:


1. Did you know that in Brasstown, NC, they celebrate New Year's Eve with a Possum Drop? Read all about it at Clay's Corner. And while you're there catch up on your "possumology" as storyteller Doug Elliott calls the science of possum study.



2. You have to do things right on the first day of the year, of course. Sherrie Norris tells you eactly what to do and what to avoid. For heaven's sake, don't take out the trash on New Year's Day, and don't do the laundry either!
Sherrie includes recipes for some traditional New Year's fare so you can be sure to eat the foods that bring health and luck.

3. My mother often talked about "first-footers." It was good luck for a fairhaired man to cross the threshold first on New Years Day. Since I married a blonde man, I guess I assured my luck. You don't want a dark-haired lady to be the first to enter, certainly. And that fair-haired man better come in the front door and leave through the back! I've heard people mention this tradition here in the mountains, although like so many of the old ways, it is probably becoming obsolete. Others apparently think the first footer should be dark-haired, so take your choice!)

4. The New Year's Baby is the first baby born in our county each year. Sometimes we have to wait almost a week for a baby to be born, but the baby and parents are always featured in the next newspaper. (I'm not sure this is a race I want to enter any more...a little long in the tooth for it, I think.)

5. At my house we burn a New Year's bonfire, throwing in bits of paper with people's troubles written on them. It's been our tradition since the year 2000, or perhaps before that. We look forward to it every year.

Of course, you should never start the new year with a dirty house! So get it cleaned up, get the dishes done and laundry caught up so you can really enjoy the festivities. Who wants to bring old dirt into a new year?

For lots more New Year's Day lore, visit the Wilson Almanac and check out his Book of Days and all the other amazing information collected by Australian Pip Wilson. I just visited his site today, and already I know I'll be a regular visitor. It's a storyteller's paradise.

And for a list of New Year's superstitions, visit Old Superstitions. You'll find plenty of ways to assure your year starts out with a guarantee of prosperity and health. And here's hoping that all my readers enjoy the same!





3 comments:

jaime said...

I've actually visited a house where you did not leave where you entered. They were true mountain folk and easy to offend. You also had to bring some sort of a gift while visiting and you did not turn down anything given to you. You'd think visiting these folk would be enjoyable and easy but I was terrified of stepping on toes. You also had to come plained clothed as well as no make up.

PriscillaHowe said...

I've had a personal tradition (that is, not at all from my family) of cleaning my house on New Year's Eve day. I also put clean sheets on the bed and clean towels on the rack. I smudge the house with sage and sit for a while to write about the past year and what I hope for the next.

It's so nice to wake up to a neat and spotless house on the first day of the year. We storytellers dwell so much in metaphor, so this kind of ritual resonates for us, I always think.

Granny Sue said...

I do the same thing! I hate dragging old dirt into the new year. Even if family is in visiting, I try to keep things as tidy as possible, so that New Year's morning the house is calm and neat--even if there are bodies sleeping all over the place :)

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