We’ve all heard about having black eyed peas for good luck on New Year’s Day. Friends of ours have an open house on New Year’s Day and there’s always a pot of them included in the party fare. But here are a couple more I hadn’t heard about. And I wish to give a huge “thank you” to my friend Dianne Disharoon for sharing them with us. As well as another big thanks for her giving me permission to post it here. [With my comments added in brackets, of course!]
“Sauerkraut is ready for tonight. Black eyed peas ready for tomorrow. I just need a tall, dark-haired male to be the first visitor tomorrow. Then, I’ll be all set for good luck in 2016!
My grandmother ALWAYS had a pot of homemade black eyed peas (with ham hock or fatback) on New Year’s Day. She was Southern to the core. I’ve got my black eyed peas ready, but not in the manner she ever would have considered serving….they’re in a salad. She’d probably be appalled! [Now this sounds interesting]
Her English heritage was evident in her observance of the Northern England and Scottish tradition of “First-Foot.” The First-Foot is the first person to enter the home on New Year’s Day and is said to be a bringer of good fortune for the coming year. It is said to be desirable for the First-Foot to be a tall, dark-haired male. A female or fair-haired male are regarded as unlucky. The dark haired male is believed to be a throwback to the Viking days, when a big blonde stranger arriving on your door step most assuredly meant big trouble. [Now I can go along with this being good luck, especially for certain of my female friends who are single…send him over and I’ll keep him here until they come over!]
My father and his two brothers were always my grandmother’s first visitors on New Year’s Day. However, as my Uncle Mervin was blond, he had to wait until either my father or Uncle Wilson crossed the threshold first. [Wow! Hope they all arrived in one car!]
However, my grandmother took the tradition one step further. She wouldn’t allow ANY female to cross her threshold all New Year’s Day! One year my Aunt Mary Anne (her daughter, no less!) came for a visit. Nope, wasn’t going to happen; she wasn’t walking in that house! My grandmother stood at the back door and barred her entry. [Probably with a broom!] My poor aunt went back to Virginia [Dianne and her family live in Maryland] without stepping foot inside her own mother’s house.
Since my mother was half German, she always had sauerkraut on New Year’s Eve (to my father’s chagrin – definitely not his favorite!). Thankfully, the one-fourth German in me [Dianne, that is, I only like sauerkraut on a Reuben sandwich] loves sauerkraut. German tradition says eating sauerkraut will bring blessings and wealth for the new year. So before the New Year’s Eve meal, everyone seated at the table wishes each other as much goodness and money as the number of shreds of cabbage in the pot of sauerkraut. So I’m sure that pot is always overflowing!]
I’m all set for New Year’s Eve and Day except for the tall, dark-haired male visitor!”
Sounds like an interesting combination, don’t you think? What New Year traditions do you have?
Happy New Year to each and every one of you!