Welcome, 2013!

Happy New Year!  Hopefully 2013 is a wonderful, exciting year for every one of you.  Get out there and do something amazing this year; take an adventure, help someone out, pay it forward, check something off your bucket list, be a good person, and surround yourself with amazing people.

I celebrated the new year with some of the amazing people I have chosen to surround myself with: Daniel, Trinity, Megan, Dave, and Charlie.  We had an around the world night at their place.  It consisted of yummy food, some drinking, some geeky games, crochet lessens, attempting to bring ourselves good luck, and lots of fun!

I’m not traditionally a superstitious person, but I’m not against doing little traditions to bring good luck.  One of these traditions is burning bayberry candles on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.  My family has done this every year since I can remember.

The bayberry candle tradition dates back to early America, when the first settler’s discovered that bayberries released a waxy residue when boiled.  The candles are said to bring good luck when burned on the eve of a holiday or celebration, but only if you have received them as a gift.  My family always buys them for one another.  There’s an old poem, origins unknown, about bayberry candles.

This bayberry candle comes from a friend.  So, on Christmas Eve burn it down to the end.  For a bayberry Candle burned to the socket will bring joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.

My mother had given some to both Megan and me, and we burned them together on New Years.  We also burned them on Christmas Eve, but that’s not the point of this entry.


Megan had found information online about an old Scottish tradition known as First Footing.  We decided to jump into this one, too!  Here is what bored.com has to say about First Footing.

The first person to enter your home after the stroke of midnight will influence the year you’re about to have.  Ideally, he should be dark-haired, tall, and good-looking, and it would be even better if he came bearing certain small gifts such as a lump of coal, a silver coin, a bit of bread, a sprig of evergreen, and some salt.  Blonde and redhead first footers bring bad luck, and female first footers should be shooed away before they bring disaster down on the household.  The first footer should knock and be let in rather than just using a key.  After greeting those in the house and dropping off whatever small tokens of luck he has brought with him, he should make his way through the house and leave by a different door than the one through which he entered.  No one should leave the premises before the first footer arrives — the first traffic across the threshold must be headed in rather than striking out.  First footers must not be cross-eyed or have flat feet or eyebrows that meet in the middle.

Daniel was selected as the First Footer due to hair color.  Dave was the only other option, and his hair is light.  He exited the apartment at 11:59 with a silver dollar, piece of salted bread, a twig off an evergreen bush, and a lump of something the menfolk found by the train tracks.  I’m not sure what it was, but Daniel said it was something leftover after burning coal, and it was as close as we were going to get to real coal at that moment.  He knocked just after midnight, was let in, and then exited the building through the back door the following morning.  I think we nailed it!

I should note that I made Daniel knock and carry in all the objects when we arrived home on New Years Day.  Hopefully this means we have started 2013 on the right foot!

Yes, that is the origin of that saying.


We spent New Years Day in Philadelphia at the Mummers Parade.  It was my first year attending, and I had a lot of fun!

The Mummers Parade has it’s roots in an old Swedish tradition of visiting family and friends on the New Year.  Groups of costumed people (Mummers) would travel from house to house, singing songs and performing dances.  They would then be rewarded with food and drink.

This celebration eventually evolved into a parade, which was first sponsored by The City Of Philadelphia in 1901.  So, yeah, it’s been going on for a long time!  The Mummers Parade is to Philadelphia as Mardi Gras is to New Orleans.  It’s a pretty big deal!

It’s an all day event, but we only stayed a few hours.  Children can get in the way of fun sometimes!  Charlie was grumpy and tired, and Trinity kept complaining about being too cold.  At least we got to stay for a little while.

It was an amazing experience, and I’m definitely looking forward to next year!  The Mummers are crazy, unique, and hilarious!

Plus, I think our good luck traditions worked!  We rode the train in, and the train was so full that they didn’t have time to gather our money.  So, we were given a free one way trip!  We also ran into people handing out free iced tea (Turkey Hill Lightly Sweetened SunBrewed Tea) and veggie burgers (MorningStar Spicy Black Bean Burgers), both of which were delicious.

We also high fived as many Mummers as possible, because it’s said to be good luck.  I hugged one, too, so that has to be super bonus points!  2013 should be amazing!

I’m sure you’re all wondering what exactly a Mummer is.  It’s hard to explain, so I’ll just share some photos!


See?  There are just no words!  If you have a chance to visit the Philly area on New Years Day, the Mummers Parade is definitely worth checking out!  The atmosphere is just amazing!


I had planned on making pork and sauerkraut for dinner, but we ate at Megan’s house.  Luckily, she made the same thing I was planning!  It’s an old PA Dutch Tradition to eat pork and sauerkraut as the first meal of the year.  This is something I’ve done every year since I can remember.  I always hated sauerkraut growing up, but I’ve recently discovered it’s yumminess.  If only Trinity could do the same!

We eat pork because pigs root forward for their food, whereas chickens scratch backwards.  It is a reminder to move forward in the new year instead of living in the past.

I usually make mashed potatoes with my sauerkraut, but Megan made black-eyed peas, which is a traditional New Years food in the Southern United States.

Even if it doesn’t bring good luck for 2013, the meal was still delicious!


So, those are some of my New Years traditions, both old and brand new.  Do you have any??



About pamasaurus

"I have learned to keep to myself how exceptional I am." ~Mason Cooley I'm a married stay at home mom living in Southern New Jersey. I have one daughter, one son, and three furbabies. I love to cook. I love to craft. I love to sew. I just.... love to create in general. I also am pretty fond of adventuring, of exploring new places. I'm shy when I first meet people, but once I'm comfortable with them, you can't shut me up. I'm crazy and silly. I have an unhealthy obsession with dinosaurs.
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16 Responses to Welcome, 2013!

  1. I think 2013 will be awesome!! Thanks for doing all the little good luck tricks with us! 🙂

  2. It sounds like you kids had too much fun!! I love the bayberry candle tradition – I have never heard of it. I love the picture of the Mummer’s Parade. I’ve always wanted to attend one of those. I’ve always been told that Mummer’s are in performer’s and/or actors. Saurkraut and pork sounds wonderful to me!

    Do you live near a place named Linn-hurst or Lynnhurst NJ? That’s where Top Girl’s father-in-law is from and her husband was born in Mount Holly (which is funny since he married Top Girl). Anyway, I was just wondering if you live near there.

    • pamasaurus says:

      We did have a ton of fun!! It seems like no one else has heard of the bayberry thing. I guess my family is just weird!

      I took my definition of a mummer (someone who dresses up and performs on New Years day) from the philly mummers website. Google also said they were a type of mime. I guess the term refers to a few different things, maybe?

      You should totally make pork and sauerkraut. Throw a pork roast in the crock pot with a bag (or can, I just prefer bagged) sauerkraut, some brown sugar, an apple, and an onion. You don’t have to cut the apple and onion too much, just quarter them. Let it go for 8 hours or so, depending on the size of the pork roast. It’s delicious!

      I had never heard of Linnhurst/Lynnhurst, so I googled. I’m assuming it’s the same as Lyndhurst and maybe the D is silent? That’s all the way in North Jersey, about two hours from me. Mount Holly is about 45 minutes. If you look on a map, I’m about halfway between Philly and Atlantic City, just a tad closer to Philly 😉

      • Thanks Pam for helping me get my bearings in NJ – a state I have never visited! 🙂 There must be a military base in Mt. Holly. I’m going to make the pork and kraut this weekend – it’s till so darn cold and it sounds wonderful, with mashed potatoes!!

      • pamasaurus says:

        It’s a weird state. You can get from the east boarder to the west boarder in 1-1.5 hours, but it takes 4-6 to get from top to bottom.

        Hopefully you the the pork and kraut made! I usually serve mine with mashed potatoes, too. It’s delicious!

      • I did – tonight! And it was delicious!

  3. Pam,
    What a fun day! I loved the history behind the traditions and superstitions. The photos are fabulous. I think I would enjoy immersing myself in your world.


    • pamasaurus says:

      Thanks!!! If we ever find ourselves in the same area, I’d be more than happy to take you adventuring with me! I find exploring and experiencing new things (and photographing them!) keeps my depression at bay 😉

  4. Dave says:

    Happy New Year, Pami!
    You’re one of the few bloggers in my community that seems to have survived through the summer. 🙂
    As one of my other blogger friends pointed out, a new year starts every day, actually.
    Here’s a reasonable mantra for now:

    • pamasaurus says:

      Yup, still blogging here and at Om Nomalicious 😉

      And, yes, a new year does start every day. The year only flips once a year, though 😉

      I love people and cook them tasty food almost everyday 😉

  5. Jennifer M. says:

    I think you are covered in the “good luck” department! What fun 🙂

  6. What fun! I’d not heard of the bayberry candle tradition, but may just have to adopt that one next year…bayberry is just nice – lucky or not. The rhyme fits too…green is the color of the heart chakra and associated with wealth…lovely! Thanks for the Mummer’s parade photos too!

    • pamasaurus says:

      You’re welcome! The parade was really awesome 😉

      I always thought it was just something quirky my family did. I looked it up a few years ago, and apparently it’s pretty popular. I found sites that sell the candles with the poem on them and such. I love all these old traditions!

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