10 New Year’s Traditions And Superstitions

Most people will bring in 2011 by watching the New Year’s countdown in Times Square, going to church or attending a party. Kissing someone hot and sexy, whether a current flame or a potential new one, is a high priority at the stroke of midnight. But there are other, lesser-known traditions. If 2010 wasn’t that great for you, maybe you should ring in the new year with the following traditions and superstitions to increase your chances of gettin’ lucky in 2011.

  1. Stock Up: You should stock up on food and money. Cupboards and refrigerators should be full of food, so you won’t go hungry in the new year. Also (and this is a biggie in my family): every person should have money on their person, whether in a wallet or pocket. This is obviously to ensure you have some paper for the rest of the year.
  2. Resolve Debts: Similarly, all household debt and personal debts should be payed off before Jan. 1. If not, you’ll be paying back debts all year long.
  3. But Not On New Year’s Day: We all have bills to pay, but don’t pay back loans or bills on New Year’s Day. And don’t lend money or other precious items either because, if you do, you’ll be paying out all year long.
  4. The First Footer: The first person to enter your home after the stroke of midnight will determine what kind of year you have, and the superstition says that person should be of the male variety. Blondes and redheads apparently bring bad luck (sorry, Prince Harry), while a woman who walks across your threshold first will bring disaster down on your household. (My mom has actually denied me entry to our home until a man crossed our doorstep.) Men with flat feet, unibrows, and crossed eyes are also bad news. This special first person (called “The Lucky Bird”) shouldn’t use a key even if he is a member of the household. He should ceremoniously knock and be let in.
  5. Stay Put: Nothing, even garbage, should leave the house on Jan. 1. But for some people it’s all right if something leaves the home, as long as something else has been brought in first.
  6. Food For Luck: Although my family isn’t Southern, we always have black-eyed peas, pork and collard greens for luck. We don’t eat pork, but my mom and I think the household will still be lucky if our cats eat it.
  7. Something New: Wear something new on New Year’s Day to increase the likelihood of receiving more garments in 2011.
  8. Open Doors: All the energy from the old year has to be let go. So at the stroke of midnight, all the household doors should be opened.
  9. Do Laundry Another Day: On a more morbid note, don’t do laundry on New Year’s Day because superstition says that you’ll “wash away” a family member — i.e., uh, cause their death — in the upcoming year.
  10. Get Loud: You have to make as much noise as possible at midnight because you’re not only celebrating, but you are also scaring evil spirits away.
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