Duck! Here comes another year!

Mom_thumbnail_13And Edith!

So far as I’m concerned New Year’s Eve is the most overrated holiday in the wheel of the turning year. Not only because when I was young, I rarely got the date I wanted for the occasion, or any at all. But because we expect so much from it, and then the most peculiar phenomena always occurs: anywhere you are on New Year’s Eve, you are sure it’s more fun somewhere else.

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Why have New Year’s begin in the dead of winter in the first place? Sure, the days have gotten a bit longer since we sacrificed that virgin on the Solstice, but the full pay-off won’t come until spring. Pray do not lecture me about Roman or Egyptian math. The Jewish New Year begins in the Autumn, the Chinese in January or February and frankly, that doesn’t make sense to me either. But, as the newest cliche of this year goes: it is what it is.

Every nation and nationality has its sure fire way of ensuring luck in the new year. This usually always involves eating and drinking to excess.
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In Olde England, there was the custom of the “First Footer.” He was a comely young man, with a dark complexion and dark hair. And a nice shapely foot! As I wrote in THE DARK MAN, a novella for Signet’s anthology A REGENCY CHRISTMAS lll, he comes to the door with a “…bit of coal and a silver coin in one pocket, salt and a bit of mince pie in the other. And a bottle of whiskey in his left hand.”

He stands on the threshold of the new year (and your house) steps in with his right foot, and says:
“I wish you health,
I wish you wealth,
I wish you happiness and cheer,
Good Luck in all you do,
And a Happy New Year.”

He drinks with the family and leaves by the back door, which is then locked up tight, so as not to let the luck out.

In the South of England, I heard he had to have fair skin and fair hair. In any part of England, he was well sauced by the time he staggered home at dawn.

And Scotland makes a huge party of New Year’s Eve and calls the festival Hogmanay.
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In the south of the U. S. of A., red beans are considered the lucky New Year food. In the West, I heard it was black beans.

My mother, a New Yorker who picked up every superstition her multicultural neighbors had, made everyone in the family eat pickled herring on New Year’s Eve, which largely accounted for the dread with which my sister and brother approached each coming year. Fortunately, by some genetic stroke of luck, I LOVE pickled herring. But I can’t say it ever brought me more than a funny taste in my mouth all night… and seagull breath.
Seagull
FYI, this poor seagull has french fry breath

What’s the magical good luck New Year’s tradition in your part of the world?

What food, what drink? I’ll try anything once.

And certainly – certainly if a handsome dark haired chap appears on my doorstep I’ll gladly let him in. A comely blond fellow will find glad welcome too. Or a redhead. Or a charming balding chap… (Note:Shapely feets are not a must either.)

….Anyway, A Very HAPPY NEW YEAR to you, and please, if you have one, list your New Year’s good luck tradition here. If you don’t have one, we’ll always accept your Resolutions!
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40 thoughts on “Duck! Here comes another year!”

  1. Yup, in all the states I’ve lived in across the south from Missouri to North Carolina, black-eyed peas, especially in Hoppin’ John, are the new years specialty for good luck.
    Personally, I figure not waking up on New Years Day would be better luck, but black-eyed peas are probably easier.

    Reply
  2. Yup, in all the states I’ve lived in across the south from Missouri to North Carolina, black-eyed peas, especially in Hoppin’ John, are the new years specialty for good luck.
    Personally, I figure not waking up on New Years Day would be better luck, but black-eyed peas are probably easier.

    Reply
  3. Yup, in all the states I’ve lived in across the south from Missouri to North Carolina, black-eyed peas, especially in Hoppin’ John, are the new years specialty for good luck.
    Personally, I figure not waking up on New Years Day would be better luck, but black-eyed peas are probably easier.

    Reply
  4. Yup, in all the states I’ve lived in across the south from Missouri to North Carolina, black-eyed peas, especially in Hoppin’ John, are the new years specialty for good luck.
    Personally, I figure not waking up on New Years Day would be better luck, but black-eyed peas are probably easier.

    Reply
  5. Hi Edith!
    Happy New Year!
    Love the cartoons.
    Don’t really have any ‘lucky’ end of year food or quirky tradition to share except that my dh always insists on pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. Don’t know why.
    Nina, who learned from her manicurist that the Vietnamese celebrate the New Year in February.

    Reply
  6. Hi Edith!
    Happy New Year!
    Love the cartoons.
    Don’t really have any ‘lucky’ end of year food or quirky tradition to share except that my dh always insists on pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. Don’t know why.
    Nina, who learned from her manicurist that the Vietnamese celebrate the New Year in February.

    Reply
  7. Hi Edith!
    Happy New Year!
    Love the cartoons.
    Don’t really have any ‘lucky’ end of year food or quirky tradition to share except that my dh always insists on pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. Don’t know why.
    Nina, who learned from her manicurist that the Vietnamese celebrate the New Year in February.

    Reply
  8. Hi Edith!
    Happy New Year!
    Love the cartoons.
    Don’t really have any ‘lucky’ end of year food or quirky tradition to share except that my dh always insists on pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. Don’t know why.
    Nina, who learned from her manicurist that the Vietnamese celebrate the New Year in February.

    Reply
  9. Being from Upstate NY, I had never heard of the traditional black beans and rice dish until my sister married into an old Southern family and started making this herself on New Year’s Day (and sending it ’round to her Yankee kinfolk).
    A very Happy New Year to everyone!
    Susan Sarah

    Reply
  10. Being from Upstate NY, I had never heard of the traditional black beans and rice dish until my sister married into an old Southern family and started making this herself on New Year’s Day (and sending it ’round to her Yankee kinfolk).
    A very Happy New Year to everyone!
    Susan Sarah

    Reply
  11. Being from Upstate NY, I had never heard of the traditional black beans and rice dish until my sister married into an old Southern family and started making this herself on New Year’s Day (and sending it ’round to her Yankee kinfolk).
    A very Happy New Year to everyone!
    Susan Sarah

    Reply
  12. Being from Upstate NY, I had never heard of the traditional black beans and rice dish until my sister married into an old Southern family and started making this herself on New Year’s Day (and sending it ’round to her Yankee kinfolk).
    A very Happy New Year to everyone!
    Susan Sarah

    Reply
  13. Edith, I, too, do not understand why the New Year begins in January. To me, it begins on my birthday (egocentric, much?) or at least in the autumn, when school starts. We seem to have ham on New Year’s day, but of course the big thing is the baklava with the quarter in it.

    Reply
  14. Edith, I, too, do not understand why the New Year begins in January. To me, it begins on my birthday (egocentric, much?) or at least in the autumn, when school starts. We seem to have ham on New Year’s day, but of course the big thing is the baklava with the quarter in it.

    Reply
  15. Edith, I, too, do not understand why the New Year begins in January. To me, it begins on my birthday (egocentric, much?) or at least in the autumn, when school starts. We seem to have ham on New Year’s day, but of course the big thing is the baklava with the quarter in it.

    Reply
  16. Edith, I, too, do not understand why the New Year begins in January. To me, it begins on my birthday (egocentric, much?) or at least in the autumn, when school starts. We seem to have ham on New Year’s day, but of course the big thing is the baklava with the quarter in it.

    Reply
  17. Beginning the year in spring, when the world is coming alive, makes a lot of sense, but I suspect our New Year’s is more tied into the solstice. Think how DARK it gets in the British Isles as the winter solstice approaches! That far north, winter days are short indeed. The solstice–when the sun pauses for three days, then starts returning (already I see that the days are longer even here in Maryland), is the sign that life will go on, for without the sun, we couldn’t survive. So it works for me for the New Year.
    As to why New Year’s is a week later than the actual solstice–hey, it takes time to recover from one party before we have another one!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  18. Beginning the year in spring, when the world is coming alive, makes a lot of sense, but I suspect our New Year’s is more tied into the solstice. Think how DARK it gets in the British Isles as the winter solstice approaches! That far north, winter days are short indeed. The solstice–when the sun pauses for three days, then starts returning (already I see that the days are longer even here in Maryland), is the sign that life will go on, for without the sun, we couldn’t survive. So it works for me for the New Year.
    As to why New Year’s is a week later than the actual solstice–hey, it takes time to recover from one party before we have another one!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  19. Beginning the year in spring, when the world is coming alive, makes a lot of sense, but I suspect our New Year’s is more tied into the solstice. Think how DARK it gets in the British Isles as the winter solstice approaches! That far north, winter days are short indeed. The solstice–when the sun pauses for three days, then starts returning (already I see that the days are longer even here in Maryland), is the sign that life will go on, for without the sun, we couldn’t survive. So it works for me for the New Year.
    As to why New Year’s is a week later than the actual solstice–hey, it takes time to recover from one party before we have another one!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  20. Beginning the year in spring, when the world is coming alive, makes a lot of sense, but I suspect our New Year’s is more tied into the solstice. Think how DARK it gets in the British Isles as the winter solstice approaches! That far north, winter days are short indeed. The solstice–when the sun pauses for three days, then starts returning (already I see that the days are longer even here in Maryland), is the sign that life will go on, for without the sun, we couldn’t survive. So it works for me for the New Year.
    As to why New Year’s is a week later than the actual solstice–hey, it takes time to recover from one party before we have another one!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  21. Hmmm…black eyed peas, hopping John, pork and sauerkraut, black beans and baklava?
    and herring, of course.
    ….takes an awfully strong stomach to make for a lucky New Year, doesn’t it?
    However you face it, whatever you eat: HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!
    (and happy forthcoming birthday Loretta)

    Reply
  22. Hmmm…black eyed peas, hopping John, pork and sauerkraut, black beans and baklava?
    and herring, of course.
    ….takes an awfully strong stomach to make for a lucky New Year, doesn’t it?
    However you face it, whatever you eat: HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!
    (and happy forthcoming birthday Loretta)

    Reply
  23. Hmmm…black eyed peas, hopping John, pork and sauerkraut, black beans and baklava?
    and herring, of course.
    ….takes an awfully strong stomach to make for a lucky New Year, doesn’t it?
    However you face it, whatever you eat: HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!
    (and happy forthcoming birthday Loretta)

    Reply
  24. Hmmm…black eyed peas, hopping John, pork and sauerkraut, black beans and baklava?
    and herring, of course.
    ….takes an awfully strong stomach to make for a lucky New Year, doesn’t it?
    However you face it, whatever you eat: HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!
    (and happy forthcoming birthday Loretta)

    Reply
  25. New Year’s Day IS my birthday, so I have double cause to be reflective and resolution-y.
    No big plans this year, though–earlier this evening we got back into town after a week with my in-laws in Tulsa. Once it turns midnight, we’ll probably wander out into the middle of the street with our neighbors where we can see the fireworks a few miles south at the Space Needle. And I already have my birthday present from my husband–the DVDs for last year’s Doctor Who with Christopher Eccleston. My guy knows me well. 🙂

    Reply
  26. New Year’s Day IS my birthday, so I have double cause to be reflective and resolution-y.
    No big plans this year, though–earlier this evening we got back into town after a week with my in-laws in Tulsa. Once it turns midnight, we’ll probably wander out into the middle of the street with our neighbors where we can see the fireworks a few miles south at the Space Needle. And I already have my birthday present from my husband–the DVDs for last year’s Doctor Who with Christopher Eccleston. My guy knows me well. 🙂

    Reply
  27. New Year’s Day IS my birthday, so I have double cause to be reflective and resolution-y.
    No big plans this year, though–earlier this evening we got back into town after a week with my in-laws in Tulsa. Once it turns midnight, we’ll probably wander out into the middle of the street with our neighbors where we can see the fireworks a few miles south at the Space Needle. And I already have my birthday present from my husband–the DVDs for last year’s Doctor Who with Christopher Eccleston. My guy knows me well. 🙂

    Reply
  28. New Year’s Day IS my birthday, so I have double cause to be reflective and resolution-y.
    No big plans this year, though–earlier this evening we got back into town after a week with my in-laws in Tulsa. Once it turns midnight, we’ll probably wander out into the middle of the street with our neighbors where we can see the fireworks a few miles south at the Space Needle. And I already have my birthday present from my husband–the DVDs for last year’s Doctor Who with Christopher Eccleston. My guy knows me well. 🙂

    Reply
  29. Happy Birthday Susan!
    Did you get your picture in the papers the day you were born: first baby of the year filler stuff?
    No matter. It’s neat to date yourself by the year.
    I’m so bad at numbers I forget how old I am (fortunately) but if I were born on the first day of the new year, I’d always know!! How convenient, and I hope it’s lovely this year.

    Reply
  30. Happy Birthday Susan!
    Did you get your picture in the papers the day you were born: first baby of the year filler stuff?
    No matter. It’s neat to date yourself by the year.
    I’m so bad at numbers I forget how old I am (fortunately) but if I were born on the first day of the new year, I’d always know!! How convenient, and I hope it’s lovely this year.

    Reply
  31. Happy Birthday Susan!
    Did you get your picture in the papers the day you were born: first baby of the year filler stuff?
    No matter. It’s neat to date yourself by the year.
    I’m so bad at numbers I forget how old I am (fortunately) but if I were born on the first day of the new year, I’d always know!! How convenient, and I hope it’s lovely this year.

    Reply
  32. Happy Birthday Susan!
    Did you get your picture in the papers the day you were born: first baby of the year filler stuff?
    No matter. It’s neat to date yourself by the year.
    I’m so bad at numbers I forget how old I am (fortunately) but if I were born on the first day of the new year, I’d always know!! How convenient, and I hope it’s lovely this year.

    Reply
  33. “Did you get your picture in the papers the day you were born: first baby of the year filler stuff?”
    I did, actually–first baby born in my county in 1971 (and now y’all know how old I am). I missed being a 1970 tax deduction by an hour and fifteen minutes, but I don’t think my parents can complain, since I wasn’t due for another two weeks.

    Reply
  34. “Did you get your picture in the papers the day you were born: first baby of the year filler stuff?”
    I did, actually–first baby born in my county in 1971 (and now y’all know how old I am). I missed being a 1970 tax deduction by an hour and fifteen minutes, but I don’t think my parents can complain, since I wasn’t due for another two weeks.

    Reply
  35. “Did you get your picture in the papers the day you were born: first baby of the year filler stuff?”
    I did, actually–first baby born in my county in 1971 (and now y’all know how old I am). I missed being a 1970 tax deduction by an hour and fifteen minutes, but I don’t think my parents can complain, since I wasn’t due for another two weeks.

    Reply
  36. “Did you get your picture in the papers the day you were born: first baby of the year filler stuff?”
    I did, actually–first baby born in my county in 1971 (and now y’all know how old I am). I missed being a 1970 tax deduction by an hour and fifteen minutes, but I don’t think my parents can complain, since I wasn’t due for another two weeks.

    Reply

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