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Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year

LadyJean 31 Dec 05 - 01:35 AM
mack/misophist 31 Dec 05 - 09:59 AM
Bill D 31 Dec 05 - 10:03 AM
CapriUni 31 Dec 05 - 10:23 PM
Pauline L 01 Jan 06 - 12:09 AM
GUEST 01 Jan 06 - 12:21 AM
CapriUni 01 Jan 06 - 12:53 AM
John O'L 01 Jan 06 - 02:05 AM
Kaleea 01 Jan 06 - 02:48 AM
open mike 01 Jan 06 - 03:44 AM
Manitas_at_home 01 Jan 06 - 03:46 AM
Tradsinger 01 Jan 06 - 06:39 AM
Azizi 01 Jan 06 - 07:47 AM
Azizi 01 Jan 06 - 07:54 AM
Azizi 01 Jan 06 - 08:15 AM
Azizi 01 Jan 06 - 08:18 AM
Lancashire Lad 01 Jan 06 - 08:55 AM
Azizi 01 Jan 06 - 09:40 AM
CapriUni 01 Jan 06 - 09:55 AM
CapriUni 01 Jan 06 - 09:55 AM
catspaw49 01 Jan 06 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,Rumncoke 01 Jan 06 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,just a guest 01 Jan 06 - 01:28 PM
CapriUni 01 Jan 06 - 02:08 PM
Mo the caller 01 Jan 06 - 02:50 PM
Azizi 01 Jan 06 - 07:44 PM
Manitas_at_home 02 Jan 06 - 04:05 AM
Liz the Squeak 02 Jan 06 - 05:57 AM
open mike 02 Jan 06 - 07:01 AM
JennyO 03 Jan 06 - 08:41 AM
Azizi 01 Jan 09 - 11:35 AM
open mike 27 Dec 09 - 07:10 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: LadyJean
Date: 31 Dec 05 - 01:35 AM

Every year at midnight on January 1, my friend Frannie pours wine, salt and silver coins over her front doorstep to insure prosperity for the year to come. Another friend insists you should be holding silver when the New Year rolls in. I'm wondering what other customs there are to insure good luck for the new year.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: mack/misophist
Date: 31 Dec 05 - 09:59 AM

When growing up in central Texas, it was customary among working class people to have black eyed peas and onions on New Year's Day. The idea was to eat well on that day so one could continue to do so the rest of the year. I understand the original idea was African. I still try to do it, but I like black eyed peas and onions.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: Bill D
Date: 31 Dec 05 - 10:03 AM

yep...eating blackeyed peas on NY day is the one I remember....and I like blackeyed peas too...but hold the onions, please.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: CapriUni
Date: 31 Dec 05 - 10:23 PM

I forget where I read it, or in what context (or if it was told to me by my mother), but somehow I got the idea that one reasons why beans are good luck for the new year is rooted in the spiralling way the bean vines grow, signifying rebirth and the spiral through time.
I didn't have black-eyed peas in my pantry, but I did cook up some pasta with black beans and salsa (which had onions in it).

From somewhere else, I got the idea that whatever you're doing at the stroke of midnight will portend what you'll do for the rest of the year, and that's why it's so important to have someone to kiss, so your year will be full of love.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: Pauline L
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 12:09 AM

I don't know of any folkloric customs to bring good luck in the coming year, but I sure need a lot of good luck now. If somebody has lots of good luck, please send it to me.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 12:21 AM

Ok - here's lots of luck to you!!!
2005 was a great year for me (even though I hit a deer, a big tree
feel across our driveway, and then we had a kitchen fire a week before
Thanksgiving. But then, I met an unexpected angel who drove me 30+ miles
home at 3am, the tree missed *both* of our cars, and since we were home
the entire house did not burn down) so
I send you the same angel which has been looking over my shoulder
the past year so you can have good luck in 2006.

Much Peace, psg


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: CapriUni
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 12:53 AM

{{{{{{{{{{{{{Pauline}}}}}}}}}}}}}

Here's a wish that this time, next year, you can look back on this day, and be joyously amazed at how far you've come.

Here's to Love
And Wealth
And Health
And Joy!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: John O'L
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 02:05 AM

Well I've been waiting for one of the Jocks to weigh in, but I guess the're all still at it, so I'll tell you something I learned the year I wintered on the Isle Of Barra in the Hebrides.

First-Footing - It's good luck for the year if a dark man is the first accross your doorstep, and even better luck if he's carrying a lump of coal.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: Kaleea
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 02:48 AM

I always heard about eating black eyed peas and cornbread on New Year's day for good luck.
Somety years ago, my Music History professor told us that if you want good luck for the year, you must say, "Rabbit rabbit" to the first person you meet--and do it before they can say anything to you. Years back, I used to call a friend from Music school on New Year's Day (if she didn't call me first) & tell her "rabbit rabbit!" Try it & let me know if it still works.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: open mike
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 03:44 AM

yep black eyed peas....
sending luck to new orleans,
too.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 03:46 AM

Liz opens the front and back doors to let the New Year in the the Old out.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: Tradsinger
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 06:39 AM

Here's the variant from (Old) Hampshire, which my family have kept up - the usual thing, the first person across the threshhold has to be male and dark. (I qualify on one of those counts and used to count on the other!) He brings with him a matchbox containing a piece of bread, a silver coin and, in the old days, a lump of coal, for which we have substituted a match. The matchbox goes into a drawer and stays there for the year, ensuring that the household has food, money and fuel for the coming year. This was done in Hampshire and is still done by my cousins there and by me in Gloucestershire.

When we moved to Gloucestershire in '72, we were told of a New Year custom whereby the children of the area went from house to house, in by the front door and out by the back, and chanted the following rhyme (we found several versions of it):

Buff Blow, God send farewell
Every spring and every spray
A bushel of apples to give away
On New Year's Day in the morning
Shoo-ee

Buff blow, fare well
God send you e'er well
Apples to roast, nuts to crack
A barrel of cider ready to tap
On New Year's Day in the mornng
Shoo-ee

The old year's out, the New Year's in
Please open the door and let us in
On New Year's Day in the morning
Shoo-ee.

This custom was carried out in the early morning 'before people went to work' in the days before New Year's Day was a public holiday here.    It was kept up until the 1960s.

I'd be interested to hear of other variations.

Happy New Year to you all.

Gwilym


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 07:47 AM

When I was growing up [Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1950s] the New Year's Eve custom in my African American house was for the adults to eat black-eye peas, pigs feet or ham hocks, or hogmogs. Greens {collard greens or kale or a mixture of the kale or collards} and/or cabbage was an important part of this New Year Eve meal. Cornbread might also be added to this meal.

From my mother and from many written sources, I have learned that this custom was said to bring "good luck". Here are my theories about the meaning of these customs:

"Greens" {including cabbage} symbolize wealth. This makes sense since greens and cabbage are the color green and green is the [only] color of dollar bills in the USA.

"Black eye peas" were customary -insead of other peas or beans-because the black eye on the peas symbolizes the black eye which wards off evil spirits.

"Pig's feet was eaten on New Year's Eve because they symbolize good health. {My mother shared this belief with me as well as the belief about why 'greens' were eaten on New Year's Eve}

I wonder if eating a pig's feet has any association with the folk saying about standing on one's own feet}. If so, maybe it was added after the fact. My guess is that the origin of this custom of eating pigs feet and other less favored parts of the pig started during slavery because besides chicken and possum, these were the only sources of meat that most enslaved African Americans could hope for {and many times that was only a hope}. So if pigs feet and the parts of the pig that the White people didn't want was the only available source of protein enslaved people had, it did provide nourishment.

Note: I haven't kept this custom of eating pigs' feet, greens, and black eye peas on New Year's Eve. And I don't know too many African Americans who have. The only food on that list that I eat are greens and cabbage. I don't eat pork for nutritional reasons, and I never liked the taste of black eye peas.However, if I had been a slave,
I probably would have been glad to eat pig feet, and black eye peas. And I honor my ancestors who did.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 07:54 AM

Another custom in many Christian African American homes is "Watch Night". See this complete quote that describes that custom:

"Many of you who live or grew up in African-American communities in the United States have probably heard of "Watch Night Services," the gathering of the faithful in church on New Year's Eve. The service usually begins anywhere from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and ends at midnight with the entrance of the New Year.

Some folks come to church first, before going to out to celebrate. For others, church is the only New Year's Eve event they attend. Like many others, I always assumed that Watch Night was a fairly standard Christian religious service -- made a bit more Afrocentric because that's what happens when elements of Christianity become linked with the African-American Church.

Still, it seemed that predominately White Christian churches did not include Watch Night services on their calendars, but focused instead on Christmas Eve programs. In fact, there were instances where clergy in mainline denominations wondered aloud about the propriety of linking religious services with a secular holiday like New Year's Eve.

However, there is a reason for the importance of New Year's Eve services in African-American congregations. The Watch Night Services in Black communities that we celebrate today can be traced back to gatherings on December 31, 1862, also known as "Freedom's Eve. On that night, Blacks came together in churches and private homes all across the nation, anxiously awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation actually had become law. Then, at the stroke of midnight, it was January 1, 1863, and all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free. When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy and praise as people fell to their knees and thanked God for delivering our people from slavery.

Black folks have gathered in churches annually on New Year's Eve ever since, praising God for bringing us safely through another year. It's been nearly 140 years since that first Freedom's Eve and many of us were never taught the African American history of Watch Night, but tradition still brings us together at this time every year to celebrate "how we got over."

Praise God and give thanks for this remaining bond that even today connects us to our ancestors!"

Source: Alta J. Cannaday ; Watch Night Services

-snip-

I know many African Americans who go to church on New Year's Eve because of the belief that how you start the year off is how the rest of the year will be. So starting the year in church is a good thing as opposed to starting the year off partying.I don't think that many of the people who go to church on New Year's Eve associate it with Emancipation Day {the date of which I dare say few African Americans know}.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 08:15 AM

From reading Mudcat threads, particularly this one Mudcat Thread on Santa Claus customs I learned about Santa Claus' associate, Black Pete {Black Peter".

In that thread CapriUni referenced a book that provided the theory that Black Peter's skin was black because he was the slave to "the Holy Smith who tended the sacred fires of life, and his face was blackened with soot".

Also in that thread I speculated about the connection of Black Pete's skin being blackened with soot" to the European tradition of blackening up for Morris dancing or otherwise traditional revelry.

I am now expanding that question to wonder if Black Pete could be the origin of the European custom of "First Footin" {a custom I just learned about last nite via the Internet}.

For an example of this belief, I'm providing an excerpt from this website: Edible Bean New Years Eve customs

"In my country [Great Britain], it's called first footing. Dead coals are brought to the home on New Year's Eve by the first foot, who in tradition is supposed to be a tall dark man. He is the first to step through the door at midnight on New Year's Eve, to bring luck to the house for the following year. The coal is kept by the woman of the house through the year. and burned on the fire the next New Year's Eve. The first foot gets a drink, a kiss, and food -- not a bad return on a piece of coal."

-snip-

BTW, that website contains a number of posts from folks all around the world and also includes a recipe for black eye peas!

****

Happy New Year!

Azizi   






In searching the Internet for New Year's Eve customs, I happened upon Anc


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 08:18 AM

Tradsinger,

I just read your "first footing" post.

If gender is not factored in, I qualify based on both of those descriptions.

LOL!

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: Lancashire Lad
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 08:55 AM

Regarding Black Eyed Beans / Peas
In some parts of UK, there was (and still is) a tradition of baking a pea and bean cake. This fruit cake contains 1 bean and 1 pea. The person who gets the slice with the bean becomes "king" for the day, the pea similarly makes the "queen". This tradition dates back to pre Christian times and the roman winter celebrations of Saturnalia, when such a cake was also prepared.

Cheers
LL


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 09:40 AM

Sorry about the discarded snippet at the end of my last post. One of my New Year's Resolutions is that I'll try to use Preview more often.

Another New Year's Resolution that I intend to keep is to add more information more often to my website

http://www.cocojams.com/index.htm

Cocojams is a website that provides examples of and information about African American children's rhymes and other children's rhymes. Cocojams also includes posts about my memories and other folk's memories of their distant and not so distant past.

I re-posted my Mudcat posts from this thread along with a link to this Mudcat page onto this Cocojams's page Celebrations and Holidays

"I also added this comment about African American New Year's Eve traditions:

"I should also mention that it is customary for African Americans to make sure that on New Year's Eve they have no dirty laundry in their home and no dirty dishes in their kitchen. I believe that this custom ties in with the belief that the way you start your new year will determine how the rest of your year will be. So if you're dirty and triflin on New Year's Eve, you'll be dirty and triflin' for the rest of the year.

{I'm not tellin if I had any dirty dishes in the sink or any dirty laundry in my house on New Year's Eve}. "

;o)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: CapriUni
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 09:55 AM

Okay, so I woke up with this wonderment in my head:

I've read, in my folklore studies, that the New Year used to be celebrated on April First, before Pope Gregory 'rebooted' the calandar in 1582. And the custom of April Fool's day started as a way to make fun of those country bumpkins who didn't get the news about the change...

So why is it that "January" is named "January" (After Janus, the god of doorways, and looking backward and forward), if it never fell at the beginning of something?

Is this another case of the folk (the Roman peasantry) picking one day to celebrate, while their military and government leaders pick another?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: CapriUni
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 09:55 AM

Okay, so I woke up with this wonderment in my head:

I've read, in my folklore studies, that the New Year used to be celebrated on April First, before Pope Gregory 'rebooted' the calandar in 1582. And the custom of April Fool's day started as a way to make fun of those country bumpkins who didn't get the news about the change...

So why is it that "January" is named "January" (After Janus, the god of doorways, and looking backward and forward), if it never fell at the beginning of something?

Is this another case of the folk (the Roman peasantry) picking one day to celebrate, while their military and government leaders pick another?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: catspaw49
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 09:58 AM

I'm not sure how far the spread is on this one but I think it covers a good part of the heavily German settled parts of the midwest such as Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Pork roast of some form and sauerkraut is the traditional New Year's meal and like many other trads supposedly brings luck, health, and prosperity, in the coming year. Specifically in my neck of the woods this also meant you had to cook the kraut with a silver dollar in it......fortunately eating the silver dollar was not required.

In my working life I moved to several parts of the country and incorporated their traditions into our NY feast. These included the blackeyed peas, turnip greens, and cornbread mentioned above. I figured if I used them all our luck had to be the best! This year I got to thinking about that and after just spending all of December in the hospital and using up another of my nine lives (probably the 7th or 8th over the past 10 years) I had to think that this was the biggest bunch of traditional superstitious bullshit I had ever encountered!

So this year, since we missed our regular Christmas Eve with Connie and Wayne, we are getting together today and eating oyster stew, assorted shrimp dishes, and all manner of other finger foods topped off with Pecan Pie and an Annie's Cheesecake (one of the best I have ever eaten--this one is a white chocolate/rasberry 10 inch mohunker that weighs FOUR pounds!!!)............Now I don't know that any of this will bring luck or money or health but it can't be any worse than the other stuff and I can help but say that it all beats the hell out of kraut, greens, and blackeyed peas.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: GUEST,Rumncoke
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 12:39 PM

Yes there was a large pork joint in the oven New Year's Eve - and when I phoned my sister she had pork for dinner too.

I cooked a christmas pudding too just for good measure - but did not put in the silver coin which is usual at Christmes - at home it was usually a silver threpenny bit - anyone remember them? There were the many sided brass coloured ones with a portcullis on, but also the small silver ones on the same lines as the silver sixpences.

The children used to come around 'letting the new year in' in South Yorkshire - except it was a 'Riding' then - from thriding, one third,

'Old Year Out New Year in, Please will you let the lucky bird in' they would chant - presumably bird meaning young person - like chick for a tot. Male, tall, young, dark and handsome was the best combination.

My mother's mother always remembered one year the New Year was let in by a blond boy and their year was dreadful. It was decades before, but she still remembered and partly ascribed the bad luck to the First Footer being the wrong colour.

Even though the calender year might be April First, the turning of the year from dark to light goes back before numbers, before even agriculture - Janus seems apt for the winter solstice no mater where the counting started.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: GUEST,just a guest
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 01:28 PM

mmmmm...I just had tofu rectangles stir fried with mushrooms and walnuts, in three kinds of oil. (Only a little oil!) now what for dessert...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: CapriUni
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 02:08 PM

The way I look at it, it doesn't really matter how precisely you adhere to the material elements of a new year's ritual, so long as whatever you do use gets your mind focused on the positive.

I was alone, last night, so I didn't have anyone to kiss, but at the stroke of midnight, I held tight to a symbolic penny from my mudcat secret santa (symbolising a connection with potential new friends, as well as wealth), and put a jelly baby sent to me by an old friend on my tounge (symbolising continued friendship and sweetness in the coming year), while I watched fireworks out my kitchen window (which should do much to scare away evil spirits).

I hope all of the same to my fellow mudcatters!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: Mo the caller
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 02:50 PM

Azziz, we had Watch Night services in our white Baptist church, when I was growing up (UK, London in the 50s)and probably still do.
In Northern England they certainly share the idea of a clean house to start the year


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 07:44 PM

Hello, Mo the caller!

I'm pleased to know that New Year's Eve Watch Night services are held by White congregations. I suppose those services may also be held by congregations which are integrated [Black/White} or are non-White and non-Black.

The main point that was made by that website I linked to was that for African Americans these services-at least for some time- commemorated Emancipation Day.

As to cleaning one's house for the New Year, I did not mean to imply that such a tradition was "solely" [Ha!] an African American custom.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 02 Jan 06 - 04:05 AM

January was the first month in the Roman calendar. By the middle ages New Year was celebrated on March 25 but later moved back to January 1.

A few years ago we spent New Years Eve at the Vicarage. Being a in an area with a lot of immigrants, there were naturally a few African ladies there from places such as Ghana. They told us how, back home, New Years Eve was kept as Watch Night with church services lasting all night.
We managed to get some singing going but the Africans had some trouble with their own traditional songs as, due to age, they couldn't perform the dances that were integral to the songs. While we Europeans had never considered that a dance and song could be inseperable they had never considered it any other way.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 02 Jan 06 - 05:57 AM

First Footers should not be blonde haired, flat footed, female or lame, blind in one eye, have splayed feet, eyebrows that met in the middle or be carrying anything a knife or anything sharp. They should not be immoral, nor sanctimonious or mean either. They were supposed to carry:

Bread (or local equivalent; bannock or barm cake) so you may never be hungry in the following year.

Silver (or a coin) so you may never be poor.

Fuel - coal or wood, so you may never be cold.

And whiskey (cider or water in other areas) so you may never be sober (or thirsty).

I don't remember much about New Years Eve when I was little, but I do remember that when we got up for breakfast on the 1st, there was always a piece of bread soaking in a small mug of cider on the table which was then fed to the bull before we ate our breakfast. Presumably it was to encourage his own 'contribution' in the following year. It was the only time the front door was ever opened (we used the kitchen door on a daily basis) other than for weddings and funerals, and that was so the New Year could be allowed in, the old being shooed out the back door. If it had been particularly bad, the old year was 'encouraged' out by beating on pans with wooden spoons, similar to 'rough musick' or 'skimmity ridding'.

The month January was named after Janus, the two faced god. One face looked backwards and the other looked forwards. Perhaps that's why we get all those interminable 'Review of' and 'Best ever' list programmes all through Christmas week and beyond.

New Years day has only had a Bank Holiday in England since 1972.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: open mike
Date: 02 Jan 06 - 07:01 AM

isn't there some tradition about carrying bread, matches and salt
for good luck..maybe this is for a new house...?

these things are symbolic of something...the matches are for fire.
perhaps the bread is wealth, and the salt?

it seems those things went along with going in the front door
and out the back?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: JennyO
Date: 03 Jan 06 - 08:41 AM

Azizi, I remember our Methodist church here in Oz having Watch Night services. We always went to them when I was a child. This was in an Australian country town where pretty much everyone was white. I thought everyone did it at the time. It was rather a nice custom - I remember we held candles as we sang.

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 11:35 AM

Happy New Year!

**

The Welsh New Year's custom of Calenneg was mentioned on another website I often read. I'm not certain if Calennig has been mentioned already on this thread.

Here's information about that custom from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calennig :

"Calennig is a Welsh New Year celebration. The tradition of giving gifts and money on New Years Day is an ancient custom which survives even in modern-day Wales. The capital of Wales, Cardiff, holds calennig celebrations in the form of a three day festival to welcome in the New Year. The Calennig Lantern Parade through the city and firework displays are part of the celebrations.

Many people give gifts on New Years morning, with children having skewered apples stuck with raisins and fruit. In some parts of Wales people must visit all their relatives by midday to collect their calennig. Celebrations and traditions vary from area to area. In Stations of the Sun (ISBN 0-19-820570-8), Ronald Hutton gives an example of a calennig rhyme from the 1950s and notes that in the south-east of Wales and in the Forest of Dean area, the skewered apple itself was known as the calennig.

Calennig translates as New Years gift. The Welsh calan means the first day of a season or month, analogous to the English (originally from Latin) word kalends".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
From: open mike
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 07:10 PM

gonna get some black eyed peas...i need all the luck i can muster.


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