What you don’t have any black eyed peas? Don’t you know that means that you will not have good luck next year?
No turnip greens? That means you will be broke as a “haint.”
These are but two of the many superstitions surrounded around the first day of any New Year. America being the melting pot of the world has surely got more than their share of the good luck/bad luck business.
Before we go too much further, let us take a look at what the Bible says about superstitions and then we will explore what superstition means and how they are observed – or not.
As a Christian, we look to the Bible – God’s Word – for our promises and warnings. Just one is needed when it comes to superstitions –
“In all thy ways acknowledge God, and He will direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:6
Whew! Aren't you glad you don’t have to bother with all the rest?
By the way, with the growing of Christianity in the world, these superstitions were debunked as people came to realize they have no meaning.
Are you taking notes? You don’t need to – because these are just folk tales that have been handed down from generation and most have probably even lost their real meaning. As children of God, we are to live by faith and promise.
Hebrews 10:38 “Now the just shall live by faith.”
Romans 1:21 “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
2 Corinthians 10:5 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
Some take the advice from Doris Day in the song she used to sing – Que Sera Sera (What will be will be).
Now what exactly is a superstition?
Superstitions go back as far as mankind. It is an irrational, but usually deep-seated belief in the magical effects of a specific action or ritual, especially in the likelihood that good or bad luck will result from performing it.
Many parents who were brought up on such observances in turn handed them down to their children and so on. Today, people are much more aware of such things. If they do tell about these observances, they are sure to tell them that it is the way people used to believe. They need to be reassured that they really have no bearing on their lives. Some people have become so superstitious that they are afraid to move and live. This is not a good thing to hand down to our children. But it is a good lesson in teaching what truth is and what is not.
But some of these are more tradition than bad omens. It is traditional for folks, particularly those from the south, to eat black eyed peas and turnip greens on this first day of the year. But one of the scariest is if you do laundry for anyone in the house on this first day of the New Year – there will be a death in the family during the coming year.
Three years ago, I did some research into this matter of superstitions and no good research should ever go to waste so I am reprinting this for the education, enjoyment, and explanation of these surrounding New Year’s Day.
Superstitions are recorded as far back as the Druids; and some people’s ancestry leans more toward superstitions than others. Among the greatest are the Chinese, Irish and the American Indian. But no ancestry is immune.
Today, most of the time, people really don’t believe in them; but go along with them in jest; but there are some folks who really do believe that your actions can result in a good karma or a bad karma.
The Buddhist teaching regarding karma is that when you commit an action, there will be another action, good or bad, as a result of the original action; whether it is was good or bad. We have another saying for it today – it is called, “What goes around come around.” This belief is like retribution for actions (or the law of reciprocity) when mean things have a way of coming back to haunt you.
Superstitions regarding New Year’s Day go a long way back and perhaps they had some significant meaning at the time. When people relied more on signs than their computer, they looked for signs or omens to help them along the way; and not all superstitions have to do with the first day of a new year. “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back?” This very well could have meant that when you take wrong steps in life, you cause heavy burdens on your mother.
Black cats have always been associated with superstition. If one crosses your path, you must immediately turn around and go in the opposite direction; or if you are on the expressway in rush hour traffic, you can simply draw a ring around your head.
If you are in the playoffs – some players do not change things that got them that far – like not changing their socks or underwear. If you walk under a ladder, or break a mirror, or when two people walk on the opposite side of an object like a pole at the same time, these are said to be “bad luck.” And when you want something really, really bad, you cross your fingers until it happens.
Some feel you can invite good luck by finding a four leaf clover, or carrying a rabbit's foot.
While there are many superstitions linked to various times and events, there are specific superstitions set aside just for the first day of a new year. It is almost like playing a game for some; but some take them very seriously - either because of their upbringing or because of things that have happened to them in the past. Many feel that keeping up with your horoscope is just another superstition.
Some noted superstitions. You may have some of your own.
New Year Superstitions
Kissing your spouse or sweetheart – brings happiness and bliss in the relationship for the New Year.
Since the “bad luck” urchins are afraid of noise, you are supposed to make as much as possible at the stroke of midnight toward them off. Many stand on their front porch in jest and beat on pots and pans as a way to wish their neighbors a Happy New Year; just as others set off fireworks.
The whole gist of these for the New Year is to ward off evil spirits and invite Lady Luck into your homes.
Eating the traditional New Year’s Day menu is supposed to bring good luck and money for the New Year; and has become a traditional menu especially in the South – greens, black-eyed peas, and hog jowl. That will bring you good luck, money, and good health for the coming year.
Things to avoid: Breaking things, crying, wailing, and allowing things to leave your house. Never let a female be the first in your home – this is called, “first footer,” as she will bring bad luck. Pray that a male will cross your threshold first.
Some people do not take up ashes, take out the garbage, or do laundry, because it will mean really bad luck to the family that will experience a death in the coming New Year.
As a good disciplinary measure, kids were told in days gone by that if they got a whipping on that day, that would set the pattern; and they will get them all year long.
Paid up bills and a full storage of food in the house means you are better prepared for the New Year and will be blessed.
And then there are the wind’s predictions:
Wind from the south tells of fine weather and prosperous times.
Wind from the north tells of bad weather.
Wind from the east foretells of famine and natural calamities.
Wind from the west foretells that will there will be plenty of milk; but a forewarning that someone of great national importance will die.
No Wind means joy and prosperity all year long.
Never start a project on the first day of the year that you cannot finish in one day.
Remember according to the “superstition guru” whatever happens on New Year’s Day will happen to you all year long.
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