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New Years Superstitions

Updated on May 13, 2014

New Years Traditions for Good Luck All Year

It was 30 minutes past midnight on Dec. 31. As my family returned home from a New Year's Eve party, I reached to open our door .... then jumped back, suddenly remembering my mom's admonitions every year about a dark-haired woman entering the house first. Not allowed! She must always be preceded by a dark-haired male, especially if her name is (like mine) Mary! Where did my mom get this wacky new years superstition? She claims it's an Irish Catholic thing, but I have my doubts. Not enough doubt, though, to ignore the warning. So I hustled my 3 sons -- darkest-haired first -- through the door before entering.

Ours isn't the only family that pays attention to new years superstitions. Ask around, and you'll hear of a number of new years traditions designed to bring good fortune & avoid calamity in the year ahead. Here, a few of my favorites.

(photo: Robert S. Donovan via photopin cc ~ cropped for shape)

New Years Superstition: Add before you delete

After midnight on 12/31, make sure you bring something into your house before you take anything out -- even the trash. The idea is that if you "subtract" first, you'll be subtracting things from your life in the coming year. (Which could be a good thing, if like me you need to purge your files, cabinets & drawers .... but let's stick with the program.) If you live alone, tie a bag or basket to a string, put something "lucky" inside (chocolate counts for luck with me!), and toss it out the door before midnight, then pull it back in after the clock strikes 12.

(image: Wikimedia Commons)

New Years Superstition: Seal it with a kiss

Kissing at midnight on New Year's Eve is more than a fun tradition; it supposedly symbolizes the love and affection you'll receive in the year ahead. So do as I did, and grab your significant other for a midnight smooch rather than banging pots & pans on the front porch. Single? Celebrate with a pal & exchange a friendly kiss....even a peck on the cheek beats no lovin' at all :)

(photo: Filter Forge via photopin cc)

New Years Superstition: Eat blackeyed peas

For many years now, I've been serving hoppin' john to friends & family on New Year's Day, based on the longstanding tradition of eating blackeyed peas on January 1 for good luck in the coming year. There may be other ways to prepare blackeyed peas, but I'll probably never find out, because I love hoppin' john so much for its flavor, ease & versatility. It's really just a seasoned batch of canned or frozen blackeyed peas (you can start with dried, too, but shortcuts work). Set out toppings such as chopped fresh tomato, scallions, parsley, shredded cheddar, and sour cream. Vegetarian guests will love this for New Year's brunch, lunch or dinner, and if you're hosting meat lovers, do as we do and throw a spiral-sliced ham in the oven to serve on the side. My hubby's also the only guy outside grilling on icy Chicago New Year's Days, as we like to go the extra mile & grill up some smoked sausage too -- also great with hoppin' john.

Hoppin' john recipe from Moosewood Restaurant (vegetarian)

Hoppin' john recipe from Emeril Lagasse (non-vegetarian)

Hoppin' john recipe from food.com (vegetarian)

Hoppin' john recipe from simplyrecipes.com (non-vegetarian)

For extra substance, serve over brown rice or (our favorite) cornmeal pancakes -- or with cornbread or corn muffins on the side. Don't forget the hot sauce!

(photo: Vegan Feast Catering via photopin cc)

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New Years Superstition: Work -- but not too hard

Doing a small amount of work on New Year's Day reportedly paves the way for a productive year. Pick a task you can be a successful at, but nothing too serious or time-consuming, as overwork on Jan. 1 is bad luck. Oh, and avoid doing laundry -- a bad-luck job for New Year's Day, as it's thought to symbolize a family member getting "washed away" in the coming year. Yikes!

(image: Tony Tony via Wikimedia Commons)

New Years Superstition: Pay it down

This is a tough one, as many of us pay off our Christmas-gift expenses upon receiving our January credit card statements, but if you can swing it, it's considered very good luck to pay all your bills before January 1, so you start the New Year off with a debt-free household. Somewhat paradoxically, it's considered bad luck to pay off a loan on New Year's Day itself -- which supposedly means you'll be "paying out all year."

(image: Wikimedia Commons)

More on New Years Superstitions

New Years Lucky Foods from Memphis Flyer

6 New Year's Superstitions from ESPN

Latino New Year Superstitions from Fox News Latino

New Years Superstitions from snopes.com (including support for my mom's dark-haired-man rule .... guess she didn't make it up after all!)

Which new years superstitions do you adhere to, if any?

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    • Dragon 40 profile image

      Ken McVay 4 years ago from Nanaimo, British Columbia

      Does going to sleep at 10:30 on New Years Eve count?