Tips for a Happy New Year

Funny Cats "Happy New Years" song - YouTube

Greetings! Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. The humans are starting a new year today. We wanted to find ways to help Mom actually have a happy new year, so we asked Mr. Google. He sure knows a lot of stuff. Too much stuff. It was hard to sort out what might really work. We put together a list and gave it to her. Guess now we have to wait and see what happens.

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Kiss someone you love at midnight. It’s supposed to make the love last all year. We hate being kissed, but it’s worth it if she’s happy for a year.

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Fill up your wallet and pantry before midnight. It keeps you from being poor and and hungry all year. Mr. Google didn’t say where to get the money to fill up her wallet. Especially after she spent all that money filling up the pantry. But we did notice that we have lots of food and treats, so it sounds good to us.

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Don’t clean your house OR clean your house thoroughly. This was one of the places where Mr. Google really confused us. One place said that she shouldn’t clean so she didn’t wash/sweep away any good fortune that was coming her way. But another place said that she should clean thoroughly to sweep away all the bad luck from the past year. We hate the vacuum cleaner, but we hate clutter where we sit, so Mom’s on her own for this one.

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Don’t cry. If she cries on New Year’s, it could mean that she will be sad for the rest of the year. We hate it when she’s sad, so this one is really important.

PsBattle: This cat trying to enter a house : r/photoshopbattles

Don’t leave the house until someone else comes in. Mom actually had experience with this one. Her grandmother was from Scotland, and refused to leave the house until a tall, dark-haired man visited with a coin, something to eat, something to drink, and something to warm the house. (Luckily, our grandpa fit the bill so he always first-footed her.) Traditional gifts include coins, bread, salt, coal, and whiskey to ensure prosperity, food, flavor, warmth, and good cheer all year long. We don’t know anyone who fits the bill, so hopefully this one isn’t vital.

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Eat black-eyed peas and collard greens. The black-eyed peas bring good luck and the collard greens bring prosperity. We don’t like either one, but she’s also supposed to eat pork (wealth and progress) or herring (good luck) and soba noodles (longevity and prosperity), so she can make a meal of it all and we’ll share the stuff we like.

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Don’t eat lobster before midnight. Apparently lobsters move backwards, and eating one too close to the new year might cause the human to have setbacks during the year. We’ve never had a lobster, but they look pretty scary, so not having one in the house is fine.

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Make lots of noise at midnight to scare away evil spirits and omens. We hate loud noises, but as long as it’s not a vacuum we should be okay. Besides, it sounds like she only needs to do it for a short period of time.

Grapes are his favourite; not to eat but to play with! 😂 : r/CatsBeingCats

We also threw away a few.

Eat exactly 12 grapes at midnight. Each grape is supposed to represent a month of happiness. But she had to be done with the grapes at 12:01. We were afraid she might choke if she tried to eat them that fast. That would be really bad luck.

Open the door just before midnight to let the old year out and the new year in. We think that the year should be smart enough to get here on its own.

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Carry an empty suitcase around. It’s supposed to bring a year of travel and adventure. We don’t like travel at all, so we’re not going to encourage it.

Wear red underwear. Some people think that wearing red underwear on New Year’s will bring romance into their lives. Mom doesn’t need romance; she has us. Besides, we don’t think she should be showing her underwear to other people.

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Eat vasilopitta (sweet Greek bread) or king cake. The person who finds the coin in either pastry is supposed to have good luck for the year. But first you have to be lucky enough to find the coin. What happens to the rest of the people?

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While we’re waiting to see if our suggestions work, we want to wish everyone a happy new year. (And those in Scotland, a Happy Hogmanay – end of the old one.)

Pictures courtesy of Google Images


First Foot Forward

New Year’s Eve always reminds me of my grandmother. When I was little, I used to spend the night with her.  My parents always went to a party that night. I don’t remember my brother being at Grandma’s. So I don’t know if the two events were related or not. Of course, maybe I just wrote him out of that memory. Can you do that?

My father would come first thing in the morning. He had to “first foot” the house. Where my grandmother grew up (Scotland), the first person in the house in the new year had to be a dark-haired man. (I think it was also OK to be formerly dark-haired, currently bald, because Grandpa did it before he died.) The man had to enter on his right foot and carry something to eat, something to drink, and something to keep you warm. Dad brought meat pies, Scotch, and either coal or wood. Scotch seems to be an odd choice as a survival drink, but who am I to say?

I honestly believe Grandma would have refused entry to anyone other than the “first footer”. I know my mother (her daughter-in-law) was afraid to find out.

The night before, Grandma would burn down all the candles in the house. (This was before the days of 70-hour candles.) She wanted to burn away all the bad luck of the previous year. Similarly, no calendar could survive the end of the year. She had to sweep all the bad luck out the door as well. Grandma was pretty happy with her life, so all this stuff might have helped. If nothing else, the house looked and smelled good on January 1st. We always sang Auld Lang Syne, but I think that was more tradition than lucky.

I was looking at some other traditions earlier today. The first footing and sweeping seem to be pretty common. It also seems that while you want to sweep on New Year’s Eve, you do not want to sweep on New Year’s Day because you will sweep away the luck that comes with the new year. Apparently every year starts out good; somehow the bad luck seeps in as time goes by. Or leaps out at you when you least expect it. You also do not want to wash dishes, laundry, or your hair in order to not wash any of the good luck down the drain.

Laundry seems to be especially bad. Some traditions equate it with washing a person away, meaning someone will die in the coming year. You really do not need that special shirt for your team to win the big game New Year’s Day. If it was that important, you should have washed it immediately after the previous loss.

So far, we’ve done a lot of work on New Year’s Eve and pretty much nothing on New Year’s Day. Sounds pretty typical. But don’t forget to eat: grapes – 12 of them, one for every month of the year (some sources say you need to stuff one in your mouth at each chime of the midnight clock – no word on what comes after that); pork – because pigs root forward when they eat while chickens scratch backward (and you may remember I told you that bacon was this year’s “in” gift); black eyed peas and lentils – they resemble coins; and greens such as collard greens, chard, cabbage and kale – the folds of the greens resemble money. Actually, if you put all of that together, call me. It sounds delicious.

The key seems to be that whatever you do on New Year’s Day will be an indication of what you will be doing the rest of the year. It is especially important that you bring in before you give out. Don’t spend money you don’t have. Don’t start the year owing anyone (that must have started in the years before mortgages and car payments). Spend time with friends and loved ones. Take care of yourself. I’m not sure what it means if you ate bad crab dip the night before and are in the bathroom all day.

Finally, some words of wisdom if you happen to be traveling next year. (I don’t know how you’ll find it next year when you need it.) :

  • In Spain, wearing red underwear on New Year’s Eve means that you will have prosperity and good luck in the upcoming year. (Note to traditional men: no one will see it if you don’t let them.)
  • In order to chase out the bad luck of the New Year, the Irish bang white bread against the walls. (I’m not sure how old the bread needs to be before it will actually bang.)
  • In Ecuador, it’s customary for each family to burn a scarecrow at midnight. The scarecrow represents the negativity of the previous year, so burning it ensures positive energy and good luck as the new year begins. (Please remember to do this outside or you will not be invited back.)
  • Brazilians jump seven waves for good luck — one jump for each day of the week. (You may want to find a beach first. Or hope that your friends are really drunk.)
  • In Greece, smashing a pomegranate outside one’s door at midnight is said to bring good fortune. The red color and seeds of the pomegranate represent fertility, love, and happiness. (In college, a friend and I got pomegranate juice on my white curtains. Nothing would take out the stains. Just a warning.)
  • If you’re in Germany, touching ashes is the key to good luck in the new year. (Apparently Mary Poppins was on to something.)

I wish you all the best in the new year. Now I have to go see how the candles are doing.