Thursday, January 1, 2009

This Is The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Year

Many cultures have New Years rituals. Here in New Orleans having a meal of black eye peas and cabbage (or collard greens) insures good luck and prosperity for the coming year (Beano jokes allowed).
There is a universal tradition that whatever you do on the first day of the year, will be what you do all year long. Alberto and I will dance a tango for sure.
Reading the New York Times today, I learned about Colombians and other South Americans who would like to travel in the coming year, walk around their house with a suitcase.
I have been in Madrid for New Years and was served a small Limoges dish of peeled green grapes by a uniformed maid in a very fancy house, and I was expected to eat one at every stroke of the clock at midnight striking the new year. Again luck is insured for each grape you manage to choke down.
I learned Danes jump off chairs, leaping into the new year. Does the style of chair matter? Danish modern as opposed to an antique French beauty?

Filipinos wear clothes especially made with deep pockets, and fill those pockets with coins and fresh bills. They jingle the pockets at midnight on New Years Eve believing the noise will attract prosperity in the coming year. I myself have jangled an armful of bangles ala Auntie Mame hoping for the same effect.
Buying and wearing new clothes to celebrate the new year is common in many cultures. Red and yellow seem to be the favored colors, and in Venezuela people give each other yellow underwear to wear into the new year for luck.
Fireworks are universally used to signify the symbol of light for the new year. Here in New Orleans they are deemed illegal, but nobody told all the folks everywhere exploding them from early afternoon into next week.
Mid City New Orleans Bon Fire
Everybody drags their dead Christmas tree
to the neutral ground (that be a median to you)
and a huge fire is lighted

The Brits have one I really like: the first person over your threshold in the new year is the measure of the household's luck for the year. Apparently they like a tall, healthy, strapping, dark haired man carrying symbols of abundance (coal for the fire, bread for the table, and whiskey for the head of the household) whose foot should be the first foot in the door.
I'd like to dictate my own symbols of abundance: a pair of Swank lamps,

...a Julie Neill chandelier,
contact Director of Sales Julie Ponze
This beauty "Cinderella 8" is in stock and ready to ship! open ended gift card to Shabby Slips,

...and Suzanis and Ikats and...

....decor books oh my!
In one part of Japan there is a Festival of Abusive Language. And they're not talking about all those year long Anon blog comments! Apparently one climbs a hill to a temple while screaming curses at employers, politicians, teachers (what about grouchy spouses, bratty children, snotty sales people, customer "service" phone reps?). Once purged by yelling they go into the temple to celebrate various ceremonies, free to allow happiness to flow in the next months.
So my dear bloggers, I sit here in new yellow underwear, screaming at the economy, jumping off my Ghost Chair, stuffing my face with peas and greens and grapes, setting off firecrackers (is that a fart joke?!), jangling my bracelets; inviting in George Clooney bearing gifts of abundance.
And most of all I am blogging.
And dancing that tango with dear Alberto, both of which I hope to do in the coming year.
What rituals do you partake in for luck in the coming new year?
Wishing you luck, love, prosperity, health, time, all the good things you desire for the coming year.


B said...

Very interesting, Christmas around the world. I eat the grapes every year, of course! Happy 2009!

laurie said...

A very entertaining AND educational post! I love grapes, but I don't know how many I could choke down while jumping off of a chair, jingling my coins, cursing at people who have wronged me, etc., etc. However, I did have my black eyed peas (with santized dimes in them), hog jowel, cabbage and greens, and my underwear is sort of yellowed from too much washing, so I'm looking forward to a wonderful year! I hope 2009 is great for both of us. laurie

Blushing hostess said...

Happiest of New Years to you! I've so enjoyed reading your work and look forward to 2009! Be well, The Hostess

karlene said...

I have the yellow stuff, so I am excited about this year!!! happy new year.

Cote de Texas said...

so here it is, a fart joke, the first on a design blog. ha!!!

hey - that chandelier is gorgeous. btw - shabby slips' walls are now white!!!!

you look too cute in that picture. I don't have yellow underwear, gray, but no yellow.

love you!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

For me, it is kisses at midnight, and black-eyed peas for lunch.

And I do wish you a truly Happy New Year. Tangos and joys galore!

Jan said...

loving the fest of abusive language - now all I need is a hill and a temple !
gorgeous George is very welcome to first foot me !

Velvet and Linen said...

Hi Valerie.
What a wonderful introduction to your sense of humor and your wonderful blog.
I live with two teenage boys (three if you count my husband Steve, who has the sense of humor of a teenager) so I am very familiar with fart jokes and with Beano!
I would buy some yellow underwear but fear I would not look nearly as good in it as that gorgeous model. My tummy is not quite as flat as it was before the three kids.
My rituals are simple: thank Steve for sharing another great year with his crazy wife of 21 years, kiss my kids and try to instill enough guilt into them so that they won't do drugs or have sex,
review all of my blessings and be grateful.
I am so glad that Joni put you on her list of favorite blogs. I am adding your blog to my list.
I look forward to visiting often.


Ewa said...

Happy New year... peace with you Valorie.. be happy... be yourself.

A Day That Is Dessert said...

Fascinating post! I saw Joni's glowing review of your site and had to check out your blog. I too am a southern girl, and wouldn't dream of ringing in the new year without black eyed peas (despite now living in Seattle, where they are hard to find).

Happy New Year!

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

You, my dear adorable red head, will see luck and health and prosperity in thinks!

Love your tango pics!

Happiest 2009 to you!

katiedid said...

Hahaha! Love it.
(Hey....what is that article at the end about? Curious!)

Wishing you the Happiest, and most Prosperous New Year!
And you can share a little of that Clooney guy cantcha?

vicki archer said...

Dear Valorie, I wish you the happiest of New Years and look forward to lots of emails and blog talk together this year, xv.

Anonymous said...

I love your list! I was actually looking for things to bring good luck in the coming year. I ended up buying a lucky bamboo, and money tree on the first. I hope it helps :)

Happy New Year to you too, thank you!!! <3

Things That Inspire said...

Happy New Years! I look forward to reading your blog in 2009. You live in a beautiful city full of inspiration.

KINHA said...

HI,I'm new on your blog. I'm brazilian and here, fireworks are legal, then at midnight they sparkle everywhere. I loved your blog and I'm waiting for your visit on my virtual house too.

Julia B. Edelmann/Buckingham Interiors + Design said...

Gathered so much new info but, alas, too late for this year. In 2010 I will be much more prepared!
Thank you!

{this is glamorous} said...

Such a fun post! Loved reading about all the different New Year's traditions. Strangely, don't seem to have any traditions, aside from good champagne and a midnight kiss . . .

Anonymous said...

Well hello there Miz V! It's February 6th, yet I find that your January 1st posting has appeared in my inbox. . . Hmmm, must mean I was meant to comment. All I have to offer at this point is that when I was studying sociology in college, I learned of a name for the activity for which one may need to use Beano: Creature Release.