Hey y’all, it’s Hope here and you know me…I’m so excited!!! Here it is!
New Year’s Day
…and if you know me, you already know how I feel about it!
I LOVE THIS DAY!
Now listen, I’m not gonna lie…I have already written about New Year’s Day! A. Ton. Of. Times! I have written all my feelings about it and my lengthy list of traditions. So some of this you may have read or heard from me before but here’s the deal…
1. Everything I’ve written, bears repeating because it applies every year and is all VERY good stuff,
2. Traditions are important! They run strong in my veins because I am creating something for my children. As our children grow up, they need to have strong traditions to grow from. It gives them roots.
So here goes…
I suppose I see the first day of the New Year much like everyone else, a clean slate, ready to start fresh, turning a new page…etc, etc, etc… But I also see the New DAY as setting the TONE for the New YEAR and in this case, a NEW DECADE!
Most people focus so much on New Year’s Eve, they barely recognize the NEW day… Only, I choose to CELEBRATE this first day! Really folks, think about it…we have this completely PERFECT day. I literally want to JUMP out of bed, clear headed…ready to embrace the new day, New Year and NEW DECADE!
For me, it is all about summoning the energy of the Earth, praying to God, calling upon the Universe, instilling Karmic laws, and Manifesting my Destiny…all rolled into one hearty, heaping BALL of GOODNESS and infusing it into this BRAND NEW DAY…and I can’t do that if I feel off my game!
After all, ultimately God and I are the creator of my life’s path.
I have been extra excited for this particular New Year’s Day. It offers closure to a decade that offered much growth yet it was growth derived from a solid dose of grief. This decade brought me MUCH loss both with immediate family and a few dear friends. Some I anticipated and some I did not. As a result, my rather large, supportive family unit was quickly whittled away and many branches of my family tree have been left bare with only the memories of those people who were so important to my world.
We have all experienced heart wrenching grief, and mine was no different. I recently read something that said, “if you can not understand why someone is grieving so much, for so long, then consider yourself fortunate that you don’t understand.” – Author Unknown. That truly touched me because I still grieve even though time has passed. As a result, I have learned how to be even more empathetic and supportive to others and their quest for a healthy and healing journey and become so very, very grateful for my own humble life.
Despite the reasons, I was thankful for those lessons of self discovery. Actually, I am into continual growth and self discovery. After all, it is a never ending process and now I am ready to continue moving forward into this next decade with the lessons of that season under my belt.
I am claiming a new pattern to my life as I will turn “GIFTY” this year. I call it “GIFTY” because it will be a gift to turn FIFTY (ps – you heard “GIFTY” here first in reference to turning fifty! I even googled it to be sure! I should probably copyright it because Lord knows as my generation approaches 50, we’ll be putting a pleasant spin on it!) and I will forever be mindful to apply all these life lessons to the coming decade!
So while I am moving forward with my excitement of turning GIFTY…just like every year, I look forward to what I will write about on New Year’s Day. It’s my personal welcoming wish to all my friends and family. Only it’s not just the general well wishes but a desire to infuse this day with everything that brings hope, love and Good Luck to all for a year! Hopefully, some of this will speak to you and some of these traditions and good spirit you can infuse in your New Year’s Day or year somewhere in your future!
1. THE PREPARATION
For me it starts days before in preparation of opening our humble home to friends & family for our annual Open House, “Start Your Year Right” dinner and every other tradition we have incorporated into the day.
After all, we are southern, and southerners tend to be a tad superstitious. As a result, I have taken down all the Christmas decorations and cleaned my house.
So decorations must be packed away, cleaning complete and the tree carried out the day before because nothing can go out on New Year’s Day as that is a symbol of bad luck. Since you go into the New Year with as much of a fresh start as possible, all the cleaning must be done prior to New Year’s Day too.
I’ve started a newer tradition these last few years, where at midnight, all the doors of our house must be opened to let the old year and any bad spirits, (according to old wive’s tales) escape. Then, I take this one step further and smudge my home. If you aren’t familiar with smudging, it is an old ritual and it can be done at any time, no matter your background or culture. It is primarily done as a way to energetically cleanse a space to invite positive energy. When smudging, you burn plant material so smoke “purifies the environment.” As the smoke ascends, our prayers, wishes and intentions mingle into the universe – connecting heaven, earth and humanity. This is another good reason to open the doors and windows to allow any bad spirits and energies (and smoke) to leave before the New Year can come in.
2. THE MEAL
I cook a meal based on southern traditions that has subtle variations all over the world. Many regions do something similar…I see meals posted all over various social media sites and I love it! It means traditions are living strong all over the country!
For my family, it consists of eating black-eyed peas as they are the symbol that represents humility and a lack of vanity. Eating black-eyed peas also goes with the old saying, “Eat poor on New Year’s, and eat fat the rest of the year.” Add to it that dried beans look like a coin and have come to represent financial good fortune.
We’ll have plenty of white rice, because it represents fertility and newness. We have roasted pork because a pig roots forward and can not look back, meaning those who dine on pork will be moving forward in the New Year. Big NO NO’s are any type of poultry or cow because poultry scratches backwards and cows stand still.
When it comes to the greens, any will do but we generally prepare collards, mostly because that is what my family prefers. Greens represent the coming of money.
Another New Year’s Day staple is cornbread, and yes – it has a reason too…because it is golden in color and represents both gold and fertility.
Added to it the Southern New Year’s well-known phrase, “Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.”…and we have covered all our Good Luck meal bases!
3. THE FUN STUFF
Next, if weather permits, we have a bonfire and burn the Christmas tree. It symbolizes out with the old and there is symbolism to this too – although I’m not sure how much I subscribe to this but basically one can watch the direction the smoke blows to see how the year might progress. If the wind blows from the south, there will be fine weather and prosperous times in the year ahead. If it comes from the north, it will be a year of bad weather. The wind blowing from the east brings famine and calamities. If the wind blows from the west, the year will have plentiful supplies but also possibly the death of a very important person. If there’s no wind at all, a joyful and prosperous year can be expected by all. I’m hoping for no wind at all!
Another tradition specific to my household and has nothing to do with any southern traditions or anything I have seen, but simply something I started years ago out of my hopeful love for life is declaring our heartfelt intentions. I can’t recall for how many years we’ve been doing it but it has been for quite some time and it started with one year with one heart that I wrote all my intentions on and stuck to my kitchen wall. Then as various family and guests saw it, each one wanted to write their own, and before you knew it – I had a wall full of hearts that I left up for the year.
From there it became an annual thing. Guests, family and friends look forward to it yearly. I cut out paper hearts of various sizes and put them in a bowl for people to pick from. I set out all types of markers, colored pencils, glitter sticks, you name it and everyone decorates and writes their New Year’s Heartfelt Intentions. They aren’t meant to be New Year’s Resolutions but anything that moves them or comes from the heart.
Everyone gets very creative and they usually turn out quite beautifully. Then I tape them to a wall in my kitchen and there they stay for the entire year. They become an interesting topic of discussion throughout the year as people inquire and read them. Then on the following New Year’s Day, if guests return, they are able to reflect back and start new or see how far they have come in the year. It is a lovely tradition and both adults and children alike enjoy it.
4. THE SPIRITUAL STUFF
Whatever you and your family does to mark the New Year – make it meaningful.
Move your attention gently and purposefully into your heartfelt space.
Be attune to yourself an others.
Be brave to claim your path.
Be forgiving and vulnerable.
Be new with your patterns and all its awkward perfection.
Be fully inspired!
I know I take all this and more into my new year, especially as I embrace closure to this last decade of good-bye’s and say hello to “GIFTY”!
At the dawn of the new year I’m filled with hope for what is to come, and I have gratitude in my heart for what has already passed. I pray I will keep my focus where it needs to be this year and that we’ll all have a year filled with love, joy, hope and happiness.
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
I am excited to hear from all of you in 2020 and I hope you will be renewed in your spirit as you move forward into this exciting new decade!
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