New Years Eve Traditions

We are welcoming another year with intention—whether we know it or not. Are we hopeful? Are we resigning? Are we happy? What are we carrying with us and what are we dropping from our heavy or light loads of this past weird year? The simple shift from one day to the next on this fresh start with crisp intention may be enough.

A lot of the world (but not all of it) celebrate the new calendar year. I’ve always thought about the agreeability we have as a planet for this day and the desire to start new. It’s a collective consciousness that we can all apply to life.

Without apology I am fairly superstitious about my traditions around New Years Eve and the coming day. I want to believe in the magic of it. So, I do some things. Some of those things have come to me through cultural family traditions. Some from friends. Some years I busily do all the traditions and some I only do a couple.

Here are ALL my traditions.

Bake a Vasilopita. This is a family tradition that came with us from Greece. I grew up with this New Years Eve cake. My Ma would make it and stick a coin in it. We’d cut it in equal pieces: one for God, one for the home, one for work and one for each person sitting around the table. The person with the coin would end up with a supposed lucky year. It was so exciting. Truth be told we kids just crumbled our way through our pieces of cake looking for the coin and really not eating much of it. And ultimately someone would be thrilled and someone would be sorely disappointed. Ah, the unedited emotions of children! I began making Vasilopita annually around ten years ago. I’ve been trying to find a recipe I love but no dice yet. I’ll keep trying. I do love the cutting of the cake and looking for the magic coin.

Set the table. The idea behind this is to set the dinner table with what you want for the year. I’m sure this tradition came from a time of poverty. If there was a table of food at New Years Eve, with hope and hard work, there would be food all year long. Now it’s a symbolic setting. Nuts, fruit, sweets, a religious icon, the Vasilopita I made, money. I have also included the Counios and Gane books as well as a couple of fancy glasses and a bottle of champagne—a symbol of celebration. Like, who doesn’t want to celebrate all year long!?

Leave a suitcase at the door. This is a modification from a Spanish tradition where people actually take their suitcase around the block. It’s too cold here but my Spanish friend, Ernestina, said that if you leave the suitcase at your door you will go on a trip. The first time I heard that I was broke. Too broke to travel. I had nothing to lose. I put a suitcase at the door. And somehow that coming year I managed a couple of trips! How about that! It worked! I was so desperate to travel that I bought that idea hook line and sinker. The next year in my rush, without thinking, I tossed my teacher book bag at the door, figuring it was good enough. And, well, the magic took me to a job out of town that I had to travel to every day. I regretted that choice and understood that some lazy short cuts have long term repercussions. I became a believer. Every year for almost two decades I leave a suitcase at the door. I have been traveling consistently. Does the suitcase have anything to do with it, like actually? Probably not. But, my intention does.

Wear red underwear. And now you know a bit about my intimate apparel! And the symbol is obvious—looking for some passion? Wear the red ones. In Latin American countries they also wear yellow undergarments for good luck. Doesn’t seem as passionate, weird.

Tie a red/pink/gold ribbon to your undergarment. Again, this is quite symbolic. Each color represents something: red, passion; pink, friendship; gold, money.

Clean the house. I mean who wants to bring in the new year in a pigsty except a pig? If you want an orderly home, start with one.

Eat twelve grapes at the twelve bongs to midnight. This one could potentially lead to a choking hazard or a very juicy, sloppy New Years kiss. Each grape is for each month. May they be sweet. May they be juicy? Sure, why not.

Stand on your right foot. Credit goes to Ernestina. My Madrid dwelling friend says that on the call of Happy New Year you stand on your right foot to quite literally bring in the new year on the right foot.

Put a coin or any piece of gold in your drink—geez, another choking hazard. If you get through all these traditions without needing the Heimlich then it will indeed be a good year. But just in case click here for more information on handy first aid.

Break a pomegranate on your door. This is a Greek tradition I remember my parents doing. Shortly after the shout of Happy New Year, we’d go to the front door and dad would give the fruit a good hard toss on the step cracking the pomegranate, with its leather skin, is full of hundreds of delicious sweet seeds—another symbol of all the little sweet things to come. I offered this tradition to my brother-in-law years ago and in his wild enthusiasm hurled the fruit at the front door like a Blue Jays pitcher. It exploded! It was hilarious. And everyone that came up my front step the next day paused and then carefully stepped in informed me that someone may have puked all over my front door!

Right foot first. Entering the house in the days after, always, always with the right foot first.

Pray.

Whether you stay home or go out has repercussions. My Ma said that every year she and my dad went out for New Years eve, that year they moved. The years they stayed home they stayed put. I heard this as a youngster and it stuck with me. A couple of years ago I went out for New Years. I took a chance. I spent most of that year living somewhere else. Would the year looked different if I stayed home? I’ll never know.

Intention. I think aside from all the lovely symbols above the most relevant activity of New Years for me is the one that sits in my intention for the New Year. Am I peaceful, happy, content. Have I let go of urgency? Am I with the people I want to be with? Is my heart full? Am I satisfied with the way the year transitions? Does the next day start with that intended joy? Are things the way I want them? Or, am I negotiating with others?

There is a lot of power in our own desires–A LOT. So with that we often sit on the experience of the past year and really laser point it all into one evening, hoping and dreaming of the things that we want and intending with our actions and our thoughts.

Happy New Year Friends!

May 2021 bring you all your desires.

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