Thursday, January 1, 2009


I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but growing up, our family did not have tons of traditions. Everything was understated. When we moved to Georgia, it was just the four of us. Holidays were simple. New Year's Eve was simple but looked upon with cheer. New Year's Day is my Dad's birthday, but it, too, was usually simple, for the most part, another day.

As I grew up and then married, I learned there are a lot of traditions or superstitions that others observe. New Years is one of those holidays that makes me think of all the quirky little nuances that others might observe.

Got you confused yet? Well, this morning as I started the washing machine, I had my first chuckle regarding New Years. The first New Years spent with my ex husband's family was my induction to New Years in the South. Now some of this may be tradition every where, and I would just not know, but this was new too me. My, now ex, mother in law had called to see what we were doing and to make sure we were having black eyed peas, turnip greens and rice. We weren't.

On top of that, I was washing clothes. YOU DO NOT WASH CLOTHES ON NEW YEARS DAY!!

She was very upset. I am serious. Nothing playful about this, nor the lack of black eyed peas (for luck) or the turnip greens (yuck, for money) and the rice (I forget what that is/was). I stated we had dirty clothes, I was home, they needed to be washed. She then said "but if you wash them on New Years Day, you will be doing clothes all year!"

I held back my chuckle. I said I would be sure not to the following year, you know, just to test her intellegent deduction there. Right. Back to reality.

When it comes to superstitions, I tend to do the opposite. Step on a crack, break your mother's back. I step on the crack, not because I want to break my mother's back, just because it is a superstition. I bought my van on Friday the 13th . . . 6 years ago. I am so thankful for my van. My shop is in suite 13. Black cat in my path . . . I spook it! Turnip greens on New Years, yuck - not going to happen. As for washing? The wash is now in the dryer and another one will go in the washer.

My now inlaws celebrate New Year's in similar ways, at least with the menu and a few variations. There is not the do or die mentality associated with it. Just the fun of the traditions as opposed to the doom of superstition. So I will participate. The green does not have to be turnip greens. It can be broccoli or green beans. They do have black eyed peas and rice. They have one variation that makes it fun though. You know how many families have adopted the pickle in the Christmas tree tradition? Well, my mother in law (no, does not put a pickle in the food), adds a dime to the black eyed pea pot. Whoever finds the dime is supposed to have added wealth for the upcoming year. There really is no true emphasis put on that part, but the fun of finding the dime. The kids get excited to see who finds the dime. My husband added an extra dime a few years ago and did not tell anyone. That was funny when the second one was found.

What New Year's traditions do you hold dear or not so dear? Are you superstitious? Would you wash clothes on New Year's Day?


Sandy Toes said...

I have done 11 loads today..YES, 11!!

So yes, I do laundry on Jan. 1st!
Happy New Year to you!
-sandy toes

JANE said...

OK I have to admit I have NEVER heard of the clothes washing thing and I am from Ga.!! And for us, rice was not included in the menu, it was ham and I can't for the life of me remember why except I always have it!! Never ate greens until I learned to cook them after Big Daddy and I got married. Don't like black eye peas except as Hoppin John!
And I'll have my Pay It Forward post soon! Loved the book and you'll read why!!

Friar Tuck said...

My family tradition was watching football games, eating finger food, and drinking alcoholic beverages. I have never heard of any of the other things.

Jan said...

Laundry is a 4 letter word to me.

Happy new year Imerie. I hope it goes all good.

MuseSwings said...

My son did several loads of laundry on New Years - in my house. So do we both share in the bad luck? 50/50 or since he brings his own laundry detergent and softener does that make it more like 33/66. Our only tradition is to NOT eat black eyed peas or pork on New Years. We had the worst year ever the year we did that. If we get a flat tire on or around the 1st we'll have a good year. This year we had two. Should be a great 2009 - except for that laundry thing.....

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Re: "If you wash them on New Years Day, you will be doing clothes all year!" So THAT has been my problem for these 23 long years?! Who'd a thunk it? Wow! That is so funny. My mom had many superstitions, as well, even though she's a believer. I could never reconcile that. I never excoriated her for her superstitions, though. HA

Gabrielle said...

I tend to be obstinate about superstitions as well. Like never use the last match, thrown a pinch of salt when you spill it etc. I defy them! Great post!