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??