Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year Traditions

Traditions to bring good luck for the New Year are as old as the celebrations and come from all corners of the world. Many cultures count a tall, dark and handsome man crossing the threshold as a sign of good luck, but if the first person to enter the house is a red headed woman...the year is sure to be stressful. What single girl would argue with that one!
Others involve housecleaning...brushing the bad luck of the past out with the dust. Holding a piece of silver or gold as the New Year begins is said to increase the chances of prosperity in the coming year...some place a silver coin over the doorway or a penny on the windowsill.
An Irish tradition involves banging on the door and walls with Christmas bread to chase the bad luck out and bring good spirits to the household with the promise of bread enough in the New Year. This is probably related to the tradition of banging pots and pans in Iran, or the ancient tradition of using firecrackers to welcome in the Chinese New Year.
The youngest boy in the household lighting a candle at dusk to burn through the night until morning light is another Celtic tradition that may be a citified version of lighting bonfires to keep away the evil spirits or a carryover of the Samhain tradition of lighting tapers in the windows to chase the evil spirits.
In the Philippines children jump up and down at midnight to make sure they will grow tall. In Asia, sunrise celebrations and honoring of the ancestors and elders brings luck. German's drop melted lead into cold water and take turns interpreting the results. This tradition has become so popular that kits are sold that include the lead pellets and suggestions for reading the results.
Then there are the foods. Chiacchiere, honey drenched balls of dough ensure a sweet year in Italy. Grapes, one for each month, make for a lucky year in Spain and many Latin countries. Eating pork, all kinds of greens, cabbage, sauerkraut, the Southern U.S. tradition of black eyed peas or anything that forms a circle - such as donuts or pretzels - make for good fortune in the coming year. In Korea, bowing to the elders and deokguk, Rice Cake Soup, are part of the sun rise celebrations. The traditions are as varied as the lands where they are from, but they all involve sharing with friends and family and wishes for happiness, health and prosperity in the New Year... for more click here

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