Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Superstitions and Traditions

The week before January 1st, my mother always calls to tell me not to do laundry on New Year’s Day.  In fact she calls EVERY day to remind me and is really adamant about it.  I have never, not once asked her why, I just don't do laundry that day.  Here we are 29 years later and I'm just now asking why.  She told me why she does it and we started talking about her other New Year's Day superstitions.  She said she's been doing them since her grandmother showed her.  

My mother has been superstitious all her life.  She and my grandmothers practiced good luck traditions and superstitions.  They threw spilled salt over their left shoulder, didn't walk under ladders or split poles.  That last one always cracks me up because my mother has made it her mission in life to not split a pole with anyone.   Can you imagine a professional woman telling her peers not to split the pole?  Well I can because my mother did it all the time.  She would make us turn around and go back if we split the pole.  She would even pull on our shirts if she caught it in time. 
Here are her New Year’s Eve/Day superstitions and traditions.

New Year's Eve

     Midnight Kiss:  A kiss at midnight means a year of closeness and affection.

     Resolutions:  A promise to do something to make the New Year better.

New Year's Day

     Food:  Eating black-eyed peas and greens.  Her grandmother use to cook black-eyed peas and greens.  Eating them brings good luck and financial prosperity.  The peas represent good luck and the greens represent money.

     Laundry:  Do not do laundry on New Year's Day.  A member of the family could be washed away (meaning you cause a death) in the upcoming months.  She told me the story of her brother doing laundry on New Year's Day, which caused a panic in the family.  Their grandmother told him, "Now boy you know we don't do laundry on New Year's Day".  The following February, her grandfather passed away.  This is one thing that she will not budge on.  Hearing her story, I get it.

     First Footer:  The first person to enter your home has to be a man.  He has to knock and be let in even if he lives in the house.  A woman entering first brings bad luck.

Here are a few other superstitions that my mom and I have talked and laughed about over the years.

  • never walk under a ladder
  • itchy palm means money is coming in
  • baby's hair should not be cut before his first birthday
  • don't put your purse on the floor or you'll stay broke (I made this mistake once, everyone yelled so loud I jumped)
  • never buy your boyfriend shoes because he'll walk out of your life in them (my friend Elaina told me this one too after my ex-boyfriend bought me a really nice pair of heels, maybe she should have told him).
  •  Pregnant women carry girls high and boys low (I carried high.  Everyone said I was having a girl, they were wrong).
  • Splitting the pole brings bad luck 

My cousin Clarise says she cooks black-eyed peas and cabbage and has a man enter first.  Our friend Eboni says her mother always cooks beans on New Year's Day.  So I guess it's not just my mother!  I don’t know if I believe that what I do or say on January 1st will affect the rest of my year but I don’t see any harm is passing along the good luck superstitions/traditions.  

                                                               Happy New Year!

                                                                           Stevie Wonder ~ Superstition
                                                                                       (lozzagermain, 2009)

Every time I hear this song it reminds me of my mother.  He probably wrote it with her or someone like her in mind.

lozzagermain (2009, June 27). Stevie Wonder - Superstition. Retrieved December 31, 2013 from  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CFuCYNx-1g