Did You Know?
Facts, Figures &
Folklore about About
New Year’s Eve &
New Year’s Day
Dec 29 : 2 Days till New Years Eve
3 Days till New Years Day
Did you know that many cultures prepare New Year’s foods that are believed to influence good fortune; or, avoid dishes that might cause misfortune?
In many Spanish-speaking countries, eating one grape at each stroke leading up to midnight (12 grapes for the next calendar year), is for good luck. Ollie Bollen – literally “oil balls” – are a traditional New Year’s confection in Holland. These puffed doughnuts are frequently filled with currants, raisins and/or diced apples.
In Japan New Year’s food is called osechi-ryori and is, traditionally, prepared before midnight on December 31 and enjoyed until January 3. There is meaning and symbolism for each food arranged in layers of lacquered boxes – jubako. Media noche (middle of the night) in the Philippines includes 12 round fruits (representing money) for each month of the New Year. Added to the spread on their New Year’s table, Filipinos believe an abundance of food that night is believed to ensure a prosperous new year.
There are, however, beliefs that exclude some foods as bad luck. These include lobsters, they move backwards and chickens, that scratch in reverse. Eating these on New Year’s day might cause a reversal of fortune.
Did you know that throughout the Southern United States, black-eyes are eaten every New Year’s Day?
As the story goes, black-eyed peas were used exclusively for cattle feed in the old South. During the battle of Vicksburg during the Civil War, the town was under siege for over 40 days. No supplies came in or out. Vicksburg was on the edge of starvation. The people had no choice but to eat those black-eyed peas, therefore starting a southern tradition. Today, black-eyes are eaten every New Year’s Day to bring good luck for the new year.
Did you know that Julius Caesar was the first to set January 1st as the New Year?
Caesar did so when he established the Julian calendar. The Julian calendar, named for Julius Caesar, decreed that the new year would occur on January 1st. Caesar wanted the year to begin in January since it celebrated the beginning of the civil year and the festival of the god of gates and, eventually, the god of all beginnings, Janus, after whom January was named.
The New Year is a time of friends and family, and parties and fun. A time of fireworks, counting down and rockin’ out with good ol’ Dick Clark (& that Seacrest guy). It’s a time for resolutions, realizations, and a brand new year.