Sharon's INSPIRATIONAL Short stories of Faith and Romance can be found HERE or visit her
Facebook Page, which also has the links in the comments.)

Friday, December 31, 2010

Oliver New Year contest

Happy 2011! I hope the New Year is a happy and healthy one where all your dreams come true! And with me, it’s all about traditions. With my heritage being predominantly Polish and Irish, along with a wee bit of Scottish, Welsh and Austrian blood, is it any wonder? I grew up with a blend of all these well wishes for the New Year, and I’d like to share them with you. Enjoy!!

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&g 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, Oliver and I wish you health and happiness for 2011. Happy New Year!

I invite you to add your favorite New Year’s tradition to mine. And to sweeten the pot, Oliver is running a contest. On January 31, he will choose his favorite tradition and send you a goodie bag full of his special blend of Chai tea! Good luck! What’s that, Oliver? Sharon chuckles. Oh, all right if you insist, who am I to stop you? So here’s another tradition to add to the list, Oliver’s favorite. According to Celtic legend and lore, the hazelnut has the power to determine whether or not your mate will be true blue. You heard right. What’s in a nut? Fidelity or infidelity? You be the judge!

On New Year’s Eve, in front of a rip roaring fire in the hearth, take a hazelnut and inscribe the name of your lover. Then close your eyes and make a wish and pitch the nut into the flames. If the nut pops out, your mate will run from you and never be true and will break your heart. The nut that burns to ashes will hold a burning desire for all of eternity.
So being a fool for superstition, Oliver has hurriedly inscribed the name of Dominique, his lady love in his book
And even as we speak, Oliver’s eyeballs are glued to the fire in the hearth, watching the hazelnuts do the dance of love. Is Dominique his one true love? You be the judge

Charade of Hearts
Oliver’s story!


Sharon Donovan said...

HAPPY 2011! Oliver and I can't wait to hear your favorite New Years traditions. We invite you to come in out of the cold and have a cup of Chai tea with us by the blazing fire. We have spicy apple, Winter Chai, pumpkin, sweet and spicy orange and white and green Chai. Name your poison and help yourselves to the chocolate chip muffins!

Maeve said...

Happy New Year Sharon and Oliver! May 2011 be filled with success, joy and good health for you both. I loved reading about all the New Year traditions in this post. Isn't it funny what different cultures do for a bit of luck and prosperity? Of course, at our house we'll have the traditional good luck meal: pork (not the hog's jaw my grandmother used to make but pork, none the less), black-eyed peas and cooked cabbage. These three things are supposed to guarantee plenty of money and good health in the coming year. I guess it works. Although, I'm not rich, my family and I are blessed with all our needs and we're so grateful to have each other. Blessings to you both!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Maeve and a Happy New Year to you too! I always get a bang out of hearing how different cultures and nationalities ring in the new year. Thank you for sharing yours with me and Oliver. Like you, we will have the traditional pork and some type of cabbage. Now, this came up before, but would you mind refreshing me on precisely what a black eyed pea is again. Oliver wants to run out and buy some. May all your hopes and dreams come true in 2011!

Debra St. John said...

Sharon and Oliver,

Great traditions! These are so magical and romantic.

My mom used to say that whatever you spend time doing on New Year's Day, you'd spend a lot of time doing in the coming year, so be sure to do things you enjoy tomorrow!

Oliver...good luck with that hazelnut. (Would Dominique mind if I gave you just a little, tiny New Year's kiss?! xoxo)

Best wishes to you both in the New Year.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Debra and Happy New Year! You know my mom used to say that one too and told us if we slept in on New Year's Day, we would start the year off on the wrong foot! LOL Now about that kiss, here comes Oliver and he's still got a firm hold on that Mistletoe!

Mary Ricksen said...

My Polish grandmother made the best light, fluffy, delicious, Babka. It was huge and we all loved it. Unfortunately we don't have the recipe. :0(
She would serve several dishes, gwumpkies, (spelling), was one of my favorites. Mmmmmm.
An antipasto my Italian grandfather made, all rich with black and green olives, pimento, etc. All mixed together with a piece of Picante Provolone was on the menu. They made anchovy pasta and pasta with clam sauce.
My Irish Mom is very superstitious. Someone would hang a white sheet to blind the Banshee, hopefully to confuse the mythical creature so it would not stop at our house for the next year. One French Canadian relative put salt over the thresh holds of all the entry doors.
We are a mix of mutts with lots of diverse traditions. Happy New Year my dear friend and may this coming year bring you health and happiness! Oliver for you I wish a nice raise... Group hug!!! Maeve stop hogging Oliver!

Hywela Lyn said...

Hello Sharon dear friend - and Oliver. Let me finish hugging Sharon and then you can give me a New Year kiss!

What an interesting and fascinating post Sharon, I love hearing all these wonderful tradtions and superstitions.

An old Welsh tradition I used to enjoy as a child is 'Calennig' a bit like Halloween, but without the dressing up, when children go around the houses, singing, for a few pennies as good luck for the New Year.

P.L. Parker said...

Happy 2011 to you too Sharon! Great post! Enjoyed every word. Don't have any real New Year's traditions in my family. We just feel blessed that we are all here again to enjoy.

Sharon Donovan said...

Mary, my sweet soul sister and dear friend, hello and a Happy New Year to you! With Polish blood in my veins, I'm familiar with the babka bread although I've never made one. And loving Italian food, I'm familiar with their food and customs. But even though Irish is part of my heritage, hanging the white sheet on the door to ward off the fate of the banshee is a new one to me and I love it! Love you too, Mary. Now here comes Oliver for his kiss!

Sharon Donovan said...

Lyn, dear friend and soul sister, let me give you a big bear hug! As you know, we share some of that Welsh blood, so I say let's start singing for those pennies! But not before Oliver steals a kiss. Wishing you the best for 2011!

Sharon Donovan said...

Patsy, m'dear, spending quality time with our loved ones is the best way to ring in the new year. Happy 2011!

Mariposa Cruz said...

Happy New Year Sharon & Oliver,

My family always had coleslaw on New Years Day. If you found one of the foil-wrapped dimes hidden in the coleslaw, it meant you'd have money in the new year.

With my kids, I always break out the fortune cookies on New Years Eve.

Have a wonderful 2011!

Margaret Tanner said...

Happy 2011 Sharon and Oliver. Loved the blog and all your family traditions for New Year, Sharon, and I sincerely hope that Oliver finds his true lady love.

Best wishes


Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Mariposa Cruz, what wonderful and unique traditions! I love hearing new ones each year. I especially like the fortune cookies as it could be a lot of innocent fun like reading your horoscope. Wishing you all good things for 2011!

Sharon Donovan said...

Happy New Year Margaret! Glad you enjoyed the traditions and here's to Oliver finding true love!

Linda Swift said...

Hello Sharon and Oliver. I'd like a cup of sweet and spicy orange, please. Which reminds me of Oliver, that charming fellow. Sorry I didn't make it New Year's Eve. Hope you had a jolly celebration. The black-eyed peas are a tradition in our family. They are supposed to bring good fortune in the coming year. Not very exciting, i'm afraid. But I wish for you both and all who visit here a wonderful new year. Love, Linda

Laurean Brooks said...

Happy New Year, Sharon and Oliver!

Loved reading all your family traditions. Interesting.

The only one I can think of is that eating cabbage and black-eyed peas on New Year's Day promise cash returns. Cabbage for folding money, peas for change.

A black-eyed pea is a brownish pea (after it's cooked) that has a black spot in the center where it curves slightly. I may be the only person who likes to douse them with ketchup and/or hot sauce. Yum!

Sharon Donovan said...

Happy New Year Linda! Here comes Oliver with a steaming cup of sweet and spicy orange tea and a roguish smile and a wink! Thanks for filling me in on the mysterious black eyed pea. And as long as it brings in some cash, I say bring it on!

Sharon Donovan said...

Happy 2011 Laurie! Nothing odd about using the hot sauce for those popular black eyed peas! But I prefer it on my shrimp cocktail!

Julie Robinson said...

Hi Sharon,
Just dropping in on you and Oliver to wish you a very Happy New Year!

Sharon Donovan said...

Happy New Year Julie. May all your hopes and dreams come true in 2011

katsrus said...

Those are great traditions. Happy New Year. We didn't have any traditions that I can remember.
Sue B

Sharon Donovan said...

And a Happy 2011 to you Sue! I'm glad you enjoyed my family traditions. I'm a real sucker for them and love learning new ones!

Sharon Donovan said...

And the winner of Chai tea bags is PL Parker. Congratulations Patsy!