In my extensive (10 minute) research (perusal of the internet) in preparation (procrastination) of writing this post, I came to learn that I am not the only one (you know how much I hate to not be the only one who anythings… unless its perfectly natural but unpleasant things that nobody wants to be the only one doing; like being the only one who eats 10 cookies in one sitting, or being the only one who gets emotional watching strangers dance, or pees their pants a little bit when they laugh too hard, or is convinced they’re going bald, or experiences occasional orgasm induced weeping or…) who has New Year superstitions!!
In fact there are a handful of renown traditions and superstitions related to the blessed first day of each year. Did you know that? I did not.
For example, it is apparently considered good luck for the first person to cross your threshold (you have to let him/her in; he/she shouldn’t use a key to let themselves in) to be a tall, good looking, dark haired non-resident of said house. Some people go as far as to say that this tall dark and handsome should absolutely not have flat feet, crossed or lazy eyes or a unibrow. So definitely not this guy:
AND they should come bearing coins, bread, salt, coal, evergreen, and/or a drink (usually whisky).
I’m just going to throw this out there for any potential 2018 first footers at our house, never mind the bread*, trees or coal.
Also, rumour has it that NOTHING should be taken out of the house on New Year’s Day. If you’ve got things to throw out, return or give to others. put them in your car on New Year’s Eve because they shouldn’t leave the house on New Year’s Day. Not even garbage or recycling. NOTHING!
Whoever made this rule up clearly doesn’t live in Montreal where it drops to -35 degrees celsius on a sunny afternoon, and anything you leave in the car overnight will be a ghostly nebula by morning.
But in the spirit of tradition, maybe still don’t get drunk enough to accidentally bring home anybody you might potentially want to throw out in the morning because no sex is worth a whole year of bad luck. No it isn’t. Nope, shut up. NO it isn’t. Your’e not 16 years old be quiet.
Unless of course you’re Italian, in which case not only are you allowed to take things out of the house on the first day of the year, you’re encouraged to do so by tossing them out of the windows! This is done more specifically with old crappy things, to make room for the new and lucky to enter their households and lives in the year to come.
I’ve just realized now as I write this that although they are (not Italian) Greek, that must be what my upstairs neighbours are doing all year round. It used to anger me, but now that I understand why they’re doing it, I have a new respect for all the filthy mop water and bits of broom crap that rains down onto my balcony, my freshly washed laundry on the line, and my vegetable garden every weekend.
Another superstition, as it turns out, is that washing your hair, laundry or dishes is a big no-no on New Years day, as it symbolizes washing away luck.
Who knew??? Not me!
I did know however, that some people believe that whatever you are doing at the stroke of midnight (and for some, even for the first entire hour of the year), symbolizes or indicates how the rest of the year will unfold for you.
In the early 90’s, my future baby-daddy called me from a bar in Northern B.C., just a few minutes before midnight, New Years Eve.
“Whatever you’re doing on New Years Eve, especially at the stroke of midnight, is a sign of how the coming year will be. So stay on the phone!” he yelled over the noise of the crowded bar full of rednecks.
“I didn’t say anything”
“No! I’m using it!”
“fuck off man! I’m talking to my woman!”
“Leif, why don’t you call me tomorrow?”
“NO!! JEN! I need to talk to you now! I need to be talking to you at midnight!”
I was home alone with Thing 1, who was only 2 years old but was still awake because she’s a party animal.
“Jen!!!! Are you ready??”
I heard all the drunks counting down, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 …
“I LOVE YOU!!!!” Leif shouted, while everyone else yelled happy new year. And then he yelled some other inaudible drunk stuff, banged the phone around and disappeared before the line went dead.
I felt warm and fuzzy inside, Julia and I went in the back yard and banged pots and pans and yelled Happy New Year at all the neighbours and then went to bed feeling blessed and assured that the year to come would be the best one yet.
While I presume the phone call was intended to insure that Leif and I spend the upcoming year showing and feeling each other’s love, it really was more of an indication of how much time I’d be spending at home while he was out drinking.
And while I know and understand (at least in theory) that midnight conversation from Vancouver to Fort St. James wasn’t really what determined how the next 12 months would evolve, so much as the fact that we were still kids in our very early 20s, each year since I’ve grown increasingly superstitious.
Usually on New Years Eve, I spend the day, and often the evening doing writing exercises, building lists and setting resolutions and scheduling tasks in my agenda for the year to come.
If I’m home alone, and still awake, I’m usually painting or drawing or recording music at the stroke of midnight, so as to insure that the year to come will be a creatively inspired one.
It’s rare that I’m out partying, because I’m an early riser and resent any occasion that keeps me away from my pyjamas after 10pm, and also I look more forward to waking up to a renewed sense of optimism and hope for the year to come, than I do to waking up exhausted, nursing a hangover and fighting the urge to throw-up.
I make sure that by midnight, the dishes are done, the fridge is clean, my legs are shaved, my nails are painted and my eyebrows are plucked and whatever I’m wearing is something I love – especially the socks and underwear. Like the new year is my lover coming for a surprise midnight booty call that I was secretly anticipating.
My other superstition – I have no idea where this one came from – is that while I know Christmas technically lasts until January 6th, I’ve always had a crippling anxiety about having the Christmas tree still up on New Years Day. I’ve taken it down religiously by New Years Eve, for fear of dragging last year into the next with me. I know that in theory this changes nothing about the outcome of the upcoming year, but it sends me into a panic just the same. Look, some of us avoid stepping on cracks, others throw salt in the air, or flush the toilet ever hour on the hour. Some of us take down the Christmas tree before January 1st.
So now, in typical New Year fashion I revisit last year’s resolutions:
New Year Resolutions 2017
- Pet a goat 3 times. Which isn’t to say, pet the same goat 3 times in one petting, or even pet 3 goats in one petting, but pet a goat, any goat, 3 completely different and separate times over the year 2017
- Instigate 4 public social calls for action, as I mentioned in Facebook Isn’t Real Life. Start with inviting all of Facebook out to a movie during my Christmas/New Year Vacation.
- Host one game night at my house while it’s still cold out enough to justify a fire in the fireplace because that’s what people do in movies. So, since I live in Montreal, make it happen anytime before July, basically.
- Go fruit picking. Any fruit will do.
- Host Oscar night at my house February 26th – serve classy cocktails and adorable hors d’oeuvres and impose red carpet dress code on all participants, including family pets.
- Finish constructing the Donald Trump/Donkey mutant piñata that I started and hung to dry in my basement 3 weeks ago.
- Complete a latch hook rug and advertise it for sale on eBay. Justify bidding start price of $150.00 with a picture of myself holding it in my arms, preferably weeping, fondly remembering the one of a Lion’s head that I made when I was 8 years old.
- Start going to a group or a club or a circle of some sort. I don’t have a dependancy recognized by anonymous, so it should probably be a book club or a craft circle of some sort. It takes me months to get through any book, on account of my practical resolutions and all the to-do lists I have to follow in order to get through them, so book club is probably out. I can’t knit, sew or crochet but maybe if I brought lots of snacks and wine, nobody would say anything about me working on my latch hook while everyone else there does real art.
- Stop beginning each and every morning by twitter-begging Donald Trump to impeach himself.
- Ice skate 6 whole feet without hanging on to anyone or anything. Without knee pads and a helmet. Well, helmet optional. I mean, even toddlers don’t wear helmets to ice skate. Or do they? Maybe a helmet isn’t a bad idea. Okay. Ice skate 6 whole feet without hanging on to anyone or anything – helmet obligatory.
I plan to include, invite and keep you all posted on all of the above events, and I expect you to feign interest, fake support and encourage, at least half heartedly, every step of the way.
And I realize that I have only accomplished numbers:
8. Start going to a group or a club or a circle of some sort. (I’ve joined a group that makes stuff out of pointy things, and have since knitted my first scarf to completion and inflicted it on Thing 2 as a Christmas present.)
9. Stop beginning each and every morning by twitter-begging Donald Trump to impeach himself. (I’ve cut back to once a month)
So I am going to have to recycle my resolutions this year and start back at petting stinky animals, inviting all of Facebook to a movie this week, and hosting an Oscars party at my house March 4, 2018.
Tune in tomorrow for the rest of my resolutions and the writing on the wall…
Bonus New Year Stuff:
Some foods you’re apparently supposed to eat on New Years Day to bring good luck in the year to come:
• Grapes – 12 of them, one for every month of the year
• Pork – because pigs root forward when they eat while chickens scratch backward and people are gross
• Black eyed peas
• Lentils – because they resemble coins
• Greens such as collard greens, chard, cabbage and kale – because they resemble or symbolize money