Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Year's Customs

Happy New Year from our family to yours!
In the US we watch the ball drop on Times Square, drink too much champagne, kiss everyone within sight at midnight, vow to do better next year, then go home and sleep until noon.

What strange and wacky customs do others participate in?

In the southern United States, it is customary to eat black eyed peas on New Years Day.  If you do so, this is supposed to bring good luck for the entire year.  People who eat cabbage on NYD do so because it is supposed to bring prosperity.  So there you have it--your New Years Day menu should be black eyed peas and cabbage in order to bring good luck and money in 2016.  Hmm....

Another food custom has to do with eating circle-shaped foods, which is supposed to reflect on the continuity of life.  This is one we can get down with, because three things immediately come to mind: bagels, donuts and Liefsavers.  Not a very balanced meal, but definitely yummier than black eyed peas and cabbage!

It is also said you should not take anything in or out of the house on New Years Day.  Some people take this so seriously that they even take the trash out the night before.  Others cavalierly dismiss this as they sail out the door with unwanted Christmas gifts to return for cash.

Don't lend money or pay off loans on NYD or you will be paying all year long.  Don't cry on NYD or you will have a long, sad year.

In Great Britain, people eagerly await the 'First Footer'--the first person across the threshold of their home on New Years Day.  If he is a tall, dark-haired and handsome stranger, it is said to bring good luck all year.  Think of how sad it would be if someone knocked and it was just your pudgy, bald Uncle Ernie. Sigh.

Filipino customs say that noise scares away evil beings, so they yell and clap hands and bang on pots at midnight.  Perhaps that is where we get the custom of using noisemakers.  And here we thought it was just to annoy everyone within earshot...

In Spain, when the clock strikes midnight, people eat 12 grapes which is supposed to bring good luck.  Not sure if a glass of wine counts as 12 grapes, but what the heck...

In Brazil, most people wear white for New Years celebrations, as it is said to be lucky.  Not so lucky in the US, where it is considered gauche to wear white after Labor Day.

Puerto Ricans toss a cup of cold water out the window at midnight, which is also supposed to bring good fortune throughout the year.  Unless, of course, your litigious neighbor is walking under said window when the water is tossed. 

No matter how you celebrate the New Year, why not start by making the resolution to have pretty flowers around you all year long?  Check out our new arrangements at www.cactusflower.com

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