6 New Year's Eve Luck Traditions

6 New Year's Eve Luck Traditions

Contentious definitive statement alert! New Year's Eve is the best holiday. Before you go fervently defending Halloween and Christmas, let me at least make my case for this very non-holiday-y, holiday. It’s extravagant, poignant, romantic, and fresh— all the best feelings. It’s got the heart-feel of a spring day in the dead of winter.

The year is looked back on with a wistful wisdom made possible after a few glasses of Champagne and a room full of loved ones. The year ahead is anticipated with a ferocity and brightness fueled by all of the bumps and bruises of the year before. The range of emotions around 11:58 is hard to beat. It’s similar to the feeling of reading a great poem. Or similar to the feeling of heartbreak and falling in love at the same time. It's the friction of the simultaneous leaving and arriving happening within everyone’s heart that makes New Year's Eve total magic.

Whatever you messed up this past year, here is your figurative slate wiped clean. Whatever goals or dreams you have for the next months, here is a clear line to begin at. New Year's Eve gives you perspective and wind at your back. It’s an encouraging push and a, “There, there, you tried you’re best!” You look around at those you love and realize, no matter what, you’ve won.You’re here for another year. It’s all quite emotional and glittery!

The climax of the night, 12:00 am, lasts for one minute. All of that feeling packed into 60 tiny seconds?! Poetry abounds. Anyway, cultures around the world have been performing rituals and traditions surrounding the New Year since forever, hoping to be blessed with luck, wealth, health, and love in the new year. Personally, I believe kissing someone at the stroke of midnight is the apex of romance, but aside from kissing, here are six cool New Year’s Eve traditions. May luck always be on your side.

1. Eat Hoppin’ John

This is a southern classic. It’s a dish consisting of black-eyed peas and rice, but it’s eaten with collard greens and cornbread as a New Year's Eve luck bringer. The peas represent coins, the collards represent money, and the cornbread represents gold. This one's all about manifesting dough. Plus, it’s super tasty!

2. The Empty Suitcase Carry

I learned this one from my best friend who is from Colombia. Basically, you get yourself an empty suitcase and walk it (or roll it) across the street at the stroke of midnight. It’s supposed to bring luck to your wanderlust and aid the safety in your year full of adventurous travels. We tried it once, and I went to Europe that summer, so it definitely works. Look both ways!

3. Stuffing 12 Grapes In Your Mouth

Another food related luck trick. But, in Spain it’s customary to eat 12 grapes. Ideally, one should eat a single grape per second once the clock strikes twelve. Each grape represents a month of luck in the New Year. And anyway, It’s fun to watch someone cram a bunch of grapes down the hatch in a matter of seconds. We made Emily do it for this very reason.

4. Colorful Undies

In Brazil, it is said that the color of your underwear will influence the type of luck you receive. Red encourages love, and yellow encourages money. I’m sure you can put your own twist on it and get creative, though. Maybe blue undies will get you into the grad school you applied for? Pink undies will definitely make your kids pick up after themselves this year. There are endless interpretations.

5. Banging/Smashing Things

Vague, but true. A lot of cultures smash, bang or break things to ward off bad energy/spirits, ensuring their New Year is prosperous and protected. In Ireland, for example, loaves of bread are banged on the walls of the house. It gets a little more intense in Denmark, where they throw dishes and glasses at the doors of loved ones to scare away the bad juju. Either way, I’m really into the idea of smashing things for good luck!

6. Coin Baked in Cake or Bread

This tradition is done 'round the world and it's pretty cute. Bake a coin into a loaf of bread or a cake, and whoever bites into it will be in for a smashing good time in the New Year. To me, having a coin that has passed through the hands of thousands in my mouth sounds a little anxiety-inducing, but I’m sure the luck it stokes largely outweighs the germs. Plus, I'm always a sucker for hidden treasures.

I think for the best luck, you need to do all of these at once! Just kidding. But, it’s fun to do fun things. Resolutions can get so boring, and the concept of luck just has such an exciting edge and mystery to it. If you don’t get that promotion, you can be sure it was because you didn't eat those grapes fast enough. Or do away with tradition and create your own, new rituals with family and friends! Anything goes. Be safe and we wish you luck.

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1 comment

Fun reading and while learning about other’s cultures. Why 6? Was that number significant? Thank you!

Joel E Gonzalez

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