Rules for New Year's Day
Hop'n John for good luck. Collards for prosperity. Last night's rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne at midnight to look back at 2013, and today's resolutions to make the best of 2014.
We know all about what to do for New Year's Day.
Or do we?
How many of us wear something new on January 1 to improve the prospects of getting more new clothes during the year?
Have we all paid off our bills so as not to begin the year in debt that is sure to stay with us? And if we have foolishly fallen short on that score, have we avoided paying people back or lending money on Jan. 1? It could only mean a year of paying out.
Have we taken care that the first person to enter the house after midnight is dark-haired, tall, good-looking, male and bearing a small gift? Not a blonde or red-head who would bring bad luck, or a female who would bring disaster. (You must be kidding! Scratch that old wives' tale.)
Superstitions for New Year's Day range from having a full pantry to ensure lots of food in the new year to handling breakable items carefully. Break something on Jan. 1 and it could signal more destruction for the year. Crying today? Expect to cry throughout the year.
It's all right for people to leave your house today, but never, never take anything else out - no trash, nothing. But if you must remove something today, it should be replaced by bringing something into the house. A newspaper, for example.
The adventuresome souls who join in on polar bear swims on New Year's Day might think they're doing it for fun - or to win a bet. But they are also symbolizing the holiday's theme of rebirth.
If you think you have the day free, think again. You really should do something related to your work today, but just a token amount. Doing too much work would be unlucky.
But if you flout all the practices above - if you eschew Hop'n John and recklessly take out the trash - you can still think about the blessings of 2013 and be grateful. And you can resolve to appreciate the blessings sure to come in 2014.
And have a Happy New Year.