New Year Traditions & Superstitions: Relying On Everything Except…

My son finally walked in the door somewhere around 2 p.m. after a night of New Year celebration. After asking me how our old folks’ in-house celebration went, he asked me why I was separating clothes for laundry. I told him they needed to be washed and other than watching the Auburn-Northwestern college bowl game, I had the time and opportunity.

“I thought you weren’t supposed to do laundry on New Year’s Day,” he challenged. “It’ll bring bad luck to the new year.”

It’ll bring old FUNK to the new year” I replied. “The only tradition I follow on New Year’s Day is enjoying my wings during the bowl games.”

Had he known about it, I’m sure he would have had something to say about me eating wings. In case you didn’t know, it’s said to bring bad luck, eating chicken or turkey on January 1 because they (the animals) have a habit of digging backwards in search of food, which ultimately would go hand-in-hand with our progress. We’re supposed to eat black-eyed peas, usually in a southern-based meal called “Hoppin’ John”. Thanks, mom.

Oh my goodness. These traditions. And it ain’t just here, it’s all around the world:

  • China – People hide their knives (so no one will cut themselves) and paint their doors red.
  • Greece – They hang an onion from the front door (a symbol of rebirth) and also tap the children on the head to wake them up. My father used the belt and not on my head.
  • Germany – They melt small pieces of lead and pour it into cold water to see what their fortunes will be, based on the shapes.
  • Romania – They dress in furs and masks, depicting various animals to ward off evil spirits.
  • Siberia – People actually dive into a frozen lake with a tree trunk that’s been placed under the ice. I can’t make fun of that because I dove into a frozen lake once on a $100 bet. Spent some of that money on cold/flu medicine.
  • Myanmar – Folks splash water on each other to start the new year with a purified soul. I can’t get half of you to bathe, but you ain’t got no problem following tradition?!?
  • South Africa and Italy This is my favorite. They throw old furniture or other objects from their balconies, symbolizing a fresh start to the new year! It’s too late for me to do it now, but next year, I’m scheduling a flight to one of these locations and hanging out of rich folks’ bedrooms with a big-ass net.

In my humble opinion, the only one that’s ever made sense was praying into and through the New Year, which can be conducted at church or (recommended due to pandemic) in the comforts of your own home. I prefer the latter because getting into an accident or a flat tire on the way home from church after midnight might make somebody rethink atheism (joking, people.). But seriously, that’s the only one that honestly seems appropriate and necessary.

Look, I get it. We do whatever we’re taught and feel comfortable with in hopes that bad fortune will not befall us. Any little bit helps. But if I may offer a thought (and I’ve already mentioned my faith in prayer):

How about we try making our own happiness? Forget luck and embrace personal and collective achievement!

We were so eager to escape 2020 to begin anew at the stroke of midnight in a different year, with no guarantee that things will be any different. But do we plan to change any of the habits, beliefs and practices that helped create many of the scenarios of the previous year? In my previous post (“2020 Didn’t Fail Us, We Failed 2020. We Failed Ourselves”), I shared how we were the instrument of our own destruction. I’m not going to revisit that, but if you didn’t read it, click the link above for a game-changing thought.

We have the ability to make it happen for the good.
We can make things right.

Attitude and Effort – Do you have it? Are you willing to apply it? Are you willing to hold those around you equally accountable?

Just remember, throwing your furniture out of the window means nothing if you have COVID-19 and someone else picks up your unsanitized lamp.

Just something to think about. Do better my friends. Do better.

That’s all I got. The cornbread is ready and I’m about to mix it with my ham, rice and black-eyed peas…


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