I once read of a New Year's Day tradition
that involved lighting six black candles and six white ones
to symbolize the negative and positive aspects of the coming year.
I think it would be more optimistic
to light nine white candles and three black candles.
Here in Virginia's Tidewater region, many people fix a big pot full of
black-eyed peas and ham on New Year's Day for good luck.
That's not a tradition I've ever taken part in,
but I know some Virginians never miss starting their new year that way.
photo courtesy of morguefile.com
To ensure good luck in 2013,
try some of these luck-bringing ideas from
the Denham Tracts, folklore collected by Michael Denham
in England in the early to mid-19th century:
Never allow a visitor to remove a lantern light from one's home on New Year's.
It is bad luck if a woman is the first visitor on the first day of the year.
Never throw anything away on New Year's:
not ashes, not sweepings, nor dirty water.
For this reason, doing laundry on New Year's is bad luck.
Other ways from the Denham Tracts to bring luck:
find a horseshoe and hang it over the front door
with the heel pointing up. This will keep witches away.
Another is to wear a "lucky" bone around one's neck as an amulet
to protect oneself from the mischief of elves, fairies, and witches.
This bone must be t-shaped and come from the head of a sheep.
The t-shape was valued by early Christians as a symbol of the cross
and by ancient Druids as a mark of importance.
If one lacks the amulet, burn juniper before cattle
as Scottish Highlanders once did.
If all the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's celebrations
haven't satiated one's need for good times,
try celebrating "Handsel Monday,"
the first Monday of the New Year
once celebrated in northern England and Scotland.
The handsel is a token or omen for good luck,
also a small gift given on the date
for granting a wish for good luck to others.
It's January 7th in 2013.
Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!