Friday, January 1, 2010
New Year Traditions
An old Irish tradition:
At the stroke of midnight, open the front door to let the New Year in and make a wish. Then run to the back door or side door and open it to let the old year and all the bad luck out!
A Polish tradition from my Grandfather passed on to my mother
The Polish believe snow on New Year’s Eve brings good luck. On a snowy New Year’s Eve, place two silver dollars outside on the window pane. The following morning, scoop up the money, along with a generous handful of snow. Close your eyes and make a wish. Then run to the bathroom and wash your face in the fresh snow and your wish will come true!
Words of Wisdom from my Irish aunt
Aunt Sis, who has starred in many of my blog posts, was a big one for legends and superstitions. She used to tell us to never eat chicken on New Year’s Day or we’d be scratching all year! This, we learned, was a reference to money. Eating pork is said to fatten the wallet for the coming year!
My Polish aunt
Not a big one for legends or superstitions, but Aunt Mary used to give a piece of straw from her Christmas manger to all her nieces and nephews. She told us to keep it in our wallets and we’d never be broke. Maybe because I’m such a believer in legends and lore, it works for me. But this is the truth. When I’m running low on money and rub the straw between my fingers, I’ve been known to find money, get some unexpected cash or win the lottery. Now, grant it, I’m not talking about any large sum of money that will allow me the luxuries of the world by any stretch of the imagination. But just enough to be a blessing!
Somewhere in Austria
There are said to be Austrian relatives on my mother’s side of the family. Very little is known about them other than my grandmother and aunt spoke of a connection to royalty. There were letters from many years ago. But after my grandmother and aunt passed away, the stories they used to tell us at Christmas and Easter faded and nothing more was ever mentioned. But one thing that stuck in my head is a New Year’s tradition they spoke of. It’s a bit chilling, but since I’m such a big believer in angels, I don’t question it.
Pick up the first shiny penny you spot gleaming in the snow in the New Year. Check the date. If it’s either the year of birth or year of death of a loved one, that person is said to be your guardian angel and will watch over you for life.
The Scottish Blessing
The Scottish are big believers in purifying the home for the New Year. This can be done in whatever traditions are passed on from generation to generation in your family. One way is to sprinkle fresh water in each room to kill the germs of the old year. Some local priests come to the homes and sprinkle holy water and bless the home.
Welsh Wishes for Good Luck
I’ve always been drawn to the fresh scent of evergreen in the house at Christmas and saddened when the bristly needles fall off and pine away. With all the legends and lore I’m blessed with, bringing a bit of the good earth into the home had to mean something. I recently learned we have some Welsh relatives on my dad’s side of the family. And a Welsh tradition for the New Year is to break off a piece of the fresh pine and sprinkle the branch through the home.
No matter what your traditions are or how you choose to ring in the New Year, I wish you health and happiness for 2010. Happy New Year!