Saturday, December 31, 2011

The New Year's Eve Traditions We Keep

Ever since I was little my family has been doing a very specific set of things on New Year's Eve. I never thought of them as traditions back then, more like a weird and annoying list of chores my mother made us do. That might have had something to do with the fact that a huge part of the list was household chores because one of her biggest traditions was that the house be eat off the floor clean. 

Because I am always interested in the traditions that others hold, I always ask. Some of the things I have heard are similar to things my own family does and others are just odd and funny. 

Here are a few of the New Year's Eve traditions we keep, and a couple others we have done when traveling or visiting other families. 
  • I mentioned that my mom had us all cleaning, everything in the house had to be clean, extra clean. If there was anything dirty, piled up, stashed etc, it had to be dealt with. Mom always said that if the house was clean for the new year then it would be clean throughout the year. 
  • Everyone had to be wearing new clothes, shoes, jewelry, and be cleaned up and looking spiffy. Apparently doing so meant we would not go without for the year.
  • So that we would not end up broke in the new year, we all had money on us.
  • There had to be food, lots of it. I don't ever remember their being anything exact, but we had a very nice meal and everyone had a chance to pick a dish, their favorite. Like everything else, plenty of food at midnight meant that we would have plenty year round. 
  • Speaking of food related traditions. My family rang in the New Year in St. Peter's for the new millennium. I remember for dinner that night we had lentils and ham because that was what the restaurant was serving its patrons to bring them good luck and fortune in the new year. 
  • Then there are the grapes, 12 of them, but I don't recall that ever having to do with luck. 
  • And finally, the kissing. Everybody had to kiss everybody else because then your love and affection for each other continues. 
In the past I have heard some funny and odd traditions like putting fish scales in your purse or wallet, not allowing any red heads or blondes into the house, pot banging, throwing open the windows, color coded underwear, and burning munecos. 

The one thing that is important to me personally, is that I am ringing in the new year with my family. It doesn't matter if we are celebrating at home or out, as long as we are together. I know this is important to a lot of people, but I also understand that there are those that it really doesn't make a difference to. Sure the party is not wild or crazy, but that's not always important. As luck would have it, my closest friends all feel the same way and celebrate the day at home with their families too so I have never gone a year feeling like I missed out on some great party. 

What are your traditions? Any I didn't mention?