Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How Will You Celebrate the New Year?

Do you have special plans for your New Year's celebration?

Do you observe certain traditions and customs?

Do you have New Year's superstitions?

Do you prepare special foods for luck and health?

Or do you just go to bed at your usual time?

As you might know from a previous post, we build a New Year's bonfire in which we burn all the things that are worrying us and those who send their troubles to us to burn.

We stay up late, share music and stories, have lots of food on hand. (You can read all about last year's celebration here.) The kids beat pots and pans to celebrate, the adults sip champagne, and we wake up the quiet night of the ridge with our noise. Far away we can usually hear fireworks and guns going off as neighbors on distant hills celebrate in their own ways.

  • I watch for the first-footer too, trying to make sure it's a dark-haired man who leaves through a different door than the one through which he entered. In Scotland, this first-footer should carry in a small lump of coal for the fire--at my house, a log for the wood stove might be more appropriate! (Last year I wrote this post about five ways to celebrate.)

    Other things I do to ensure a good year:
    Listen up! The first words I hear after the year changes might carry portents for the rest of the year.
  • Do things I enjoy on New Year's Day. This often includes touching base with my family and planning the garden with seed catalogs in hand.
  • We used to have to work every New Year's Eve and New Year's day. Now it's important to me to be home because it seems to impact how the rest of my year will go. Superstitious? Yeah!
  • Spend no money. An old superstition says that nothing should go out, not even dust or the trash. I don't know about that, but not spending on New Year's is another of those precedent-setting things for the coming year.
  • There are conflicting world opinions about sweeping on New Year's. Some say you will sweep out your luck, others sweep out the old year's dust. So I sweep if it's needed!
  • My mother always said that if you cried on New Year's, you'd cry all year. true? I don't know, but I try not to cry ;-)

As for food:

We always eat cabbage (with wrapped coins mixed in--I think this was a way to get kids to eat cabbage, one of the few vegetables available in winter in the old days, but probably not a favorite with kids then either! My sons were always on the hunt for rthe coins, but the deal was they had to eat all their cabbage to keep the coins. Quarters were the favorite, of course.), The cabbage can be coleslaw, of course, although somehow that seems like cheating.

Black-eyed peas are on the menu, too--my version mixes the peas with Ro-Tell Tomatoes and onions--spicy and good. And ham--yumm!

So share! What are your plans? What will you cook? What will you do or not do to celebrate and to guarantee your good luck?

For more ideas for food and celebration, try these websites:

New Year's Day traditions and superstitions

Parties all over the country!

Food Network's gallery of recipes

Recipes, crafts and recipes abound on this site

How to make Hoppin' John to spice up those black-eyed peas (but I like my version best!)


Tammy said...

I'm ready to burn my worries Granny Sue...that sounds like a fine tradition to start with.

We also have the boiled cabbage and black eye peas...I'm going to try the Rotel in them...sounds great!

I don't know if it is a superstition or not...but I never post my new calendar on the wall until New Year's Day...I've heard it is very bad luck.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful New Year!

ps...I sent you an email but it might of got lost...I sent it to the wrong address, then tried to forward it to the right one....lol...please let me off the hook but letting me know if you got it or not ;~D

Janet, said...

Well, we don't do much to celebrate. We always stay up until after midnight and usually toast with Welch's sparkling grape juice. And on New Years Day we always eat cabbage, we cook a very big pot of it. When I was young we put silver in it (such as a silver dime).Like you said, I think it was the only way to get us kids to eat some of it. I love cabbage now. And the first person to come to Grandma's door had to be a male or she wouldn't let them in.

Granny Sue said...

Your worries are headed to the fire, Tammy. I did get your email today and will respond tonight. It looks like your young ones enjoyed the CD!

Tracey said...

I cook black eyed peas and collards....yummy!

Granny Sue said...

Okay, Tracey, share! What's your recipe? I like collard greens when they're cooked right. I'm betting you know how to do it.

Terry Thornton said...


You are my favorite storyteller! Thanks for such an interesting post --- I'll not sweep nor vacuum because of you! And I'll build that fire I keep putting off building in the outside "new" fireplace --- it is almost two years old and has never seen a fire --- to burn up all my worries.

But mainly I'll take the first few hours of the new year to give thanks that my predicament has so improved over what it was seven years ago when I lay in a hospital bed with only one unbroken limb and wondering if I'd ever stand up much less walk again when the bells and fireworks and noise welcomed in the start of that year.

So I stay up to welcome the new --- and to give thanks for what I have and what I've been able to recover --- and to remember those who were lost to the living during the old year.

And then I sleep and awake and eat greens and black-eyed peas and cornbread!

Thanks for the list of "how to do a New Year's evening 'up right'". You've inspired us all. Enjoy your traditions.

Terry Thornton
Fulton, Mississippi

Anonymous said...

I plan on spending New Years Eve in Richmond this year with my children, their wives (and to-be) and grandchildren. The only one missing is my husband...kind of weird, but he usually works on New Years Eve so we are used to it. New Years Dinner is always: Roast Beef, mashed potatoes, black eyed peas (yuk!) cabbage (no coins) and biscuits. I always clean on New Years day...have to get the mess out from Christmas! Happy New Year Sue, may it be blessed and happy!

Matthew Burns said...

Shirley and I are celebrating at home this year. I am making sauerbraten, a traditional German dish, that is served on special occasions. We can't have pork or black-eyed pea's since they are both high in uric acid and will flare up some medical conditions for Shirley. She isn't supposed to have much beef either, but after preparing the saurbraten for 4 days, she's gonna have some beef.

Also, cabbage is a must! I love cooked cabbage.

Also, we have an old antique German "hope" box that I found at an antique store. It is solid brass and very intricate. The little lid opens up and you are supposed to put your dreams and hopes for the coming year in it, and hang it up in a prominent location as you bring in the new year. Whatever you put in the "hope" box is supposed to come true.

We are also gonna just relax tonight, and tomorrow we'll probably get back to working on the book. Our next deadline is Jan 16.

Hope the bonfire goes well, sounds like great fun. I remember Jason and I used to burn our Christmas tree on the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve. We'd soak that sucker with gasoline and make a trail from it to light. We'd light up the mountain when we'd fire it off. It was so funny because all the folks who were out shooting their guns to shoot in the New Year would be startled and stop shooting for a few moments. We'd hear alot of "What the Hell's" coming down the holler. I don't think they ever remembered from one year to the next either.


flatcat said...

Here in Central PA,we drop things down a pole.NYC has their lighted ball, so Harrisburg has a strawberry,Mechanicsburg has a wrench,Lebanon has a bologna,There are all kinds of drops.A friend of mines mother-in-law down in Texas thought this was the most hilarious thing ever.She really fell out. Personally,I will probably sleep through it all until the fireworks goes off.I can see that without leaving the house.

Mary said...

I'm staying home, relaxing, but in my heart I'll be at your fire with you, burning all those troubles and holding onto hope for a better year.
Now, you've given a link for Hoppin' John, but said you like yours better -- what is your version? Inquiring minds (and tummies) want to know . . . .

Virginia said...

Granny Sue,
Thanks for helping my pal Carrie at Maizy's Mom. I appreciate you adding her troubles to your bonfire, too!

Granny Sue said...

So many great ideas here! Terry, thank you for those kind words. The people I've met here are a joy in my life, and I love to hear from all of them.

Theresa, how nice it must be to have the guys in one place at New Year's. I hope it's a sign for the future. People often forget that while we're celebrating, some people are still atwork, doing stuff like keeping our lights on. Give him a big ol' smooch from me :-)

Matthew, it sounds like you've got quite a feast and celebration planned. I love sauerbraten but I've never tried to make it. I have never heard of the hope box either--that's a great idea. I was thinking that we should make a "joy" list on New Year's Day--something to balance the troubles and make us think about and appreciate all the good things in our lives. The hope box is a similar idea.

Have a lovely time, and we'll try not to make so much noise that you hear us in Charleston!

Virginia, Carrie's troubles are in the basket with the others. It will be a good feeling to see them all go up in smoke.

Flatcat, I love, love, love it! You've got me thinking--what can we drop here at the farm, and from where? This sounds like a challenge for my son Aaron, he of the air cannon, potato gun and sawdust cannon. He can make just about anything with a pile of junk and a few tools.

Mary, I make my Hopping John by mixing sauteed onions and mushrooms with the black-eyed peas and a can of Ro-Tell tomatoes--these are canned tomatoes with jalapeno peppers mixed in. It makes a spicy, textured dish that is just plain good.

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