New Year's Day is a time of renewal, a fresh start for the rest of the year. Many of us make resolutions for the coming year after reflecting on past habits and events. And many people also focus on New Year's Day superstitions. Nearly every culture around the world has superstitions attached to New Year's Day. The superstitions are based on the belief that what happens on New Year's Day sets the tone and habits for the rest of the year. These superstitions can range from which foods to eat to spending habits to finding true love. And there are even superstitions that have to do with laundry.
After you've kissed a loved one at midnight, pay heed to some laundry superstitions. Here are four New Year's Day superstitions concerning laundry:
- Don't do laundry on New Year's Day, or a member of the family will be washed away (i.e., die) during the coming year.
- Doing laundry on New Year's Day will wash a year of good fortune down the drain.
- Don't do laundry on New Year's Day, or you will have more laundry than usual to do all year.
- Wear something new on New Year's Day to increase the likelihood of more new clothes in the coming year.
Now that you've learned what not to do, how about making some laundry resolutions for the new year. Consider the following:
- Treat stains as soon as possible.
- Wash full loads, but don't overload your washer.
- Use an indoor or outdoor clothesline more often.
- Use vinegar and baking soda to boost performance and use less detergent.
- Promptly fold or hang your laundry to avoid wrinkles.
- Clean the dryer lint trap after every load.
- Clean your washer monthly.
- Make your laundry workspace more attractive.
- Teach others to do the laundry.
Traditional New Year's Day Foods and How to Remove Their Stains
Many cultures have lucky or traditional foods that are eaten on New Year's Day. These foods are often said to improve the odds that your next year will be a great one. So enjoy the foods, but also be sure you can remove any accidental stains that might occur to keep your laundry resolutions.
Baked goods are traditional foods for the holiday season. In many cultures, there seems to be a special emphasis on the luck of a round or ring-shaped cake. Italy has chiacchiere, which are honey-drenched balls of pasta dough fried and dusted with powdered sugar. Poland and Hungary also enjoy doughnuts while the Netherlands has oliebollen, a puffy, doughnut-like pastry filled with apples, raisins, and currants. In some cultures, a special trinket or coin is hidden inside the cake, and the finder receives luck for the new year. Mexico's rosca de reyes is a ring-shaped cake decorated with candied fruit and baked with one or more surprises inside. In Greece, a special round cake called vasilopita is baked with a coin hidden inside.
So if you are baking for the new year, you'll need to be able to remove butter and egg stains, along with icing stains. It’s best to treat a stain from any fat-based confection as soon as possible before the grease seeps into the fabric. Flush the stain with cold water. Then, pretreat it with detergent or a stain remover before washing as recommended on the fabric care label.
Champagne is a traditional New Year's Eve drink. The tradition of drinking it to mark celebrations originated in the royal courts of Europe prior to 1789, where the expensive drink was viewed as a status symbol. By the late 19th century, drinking sparkling wine had become a worldwide symbol of celebration.
To remove Champagne and white wine stains, first use a clean white cloth or paper towel to blot away as much of the liquid as possible from the fabric. Then, blot the stain with cold water. As soon as possible, wash the fabric using the hottest water you can per its care instructions.
Since the Middle Ages, serving fish for New Year's has been popular. Cod was found in the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, North Africa, and the Caribbean. Cod could be easily preserved with salt, and with the Catholic Church's policy against red meat consumption on religious holidays, the fish became traditional for celebrations. Herring is eaten at midnight in Poland and Germany for good luck. The Swedish New Year feast is a smorgasbord with a variety of fish dishes. And in Japan herring roe is consumed for fertility, shrimp are eaten for long life, and dried sardines are said to produce a good harvest when eaten for the New Year.
Whether you are preparing or enjoying fish for New Year's, you should know how to remove seafood stains. Any raw fish dropped on fabric should be removed and flushed with cold water immediately. Then, launder the fabric as recommended on its care label. An oily fish stain often will require blotting, followed by pretreatment with a stain remover or detergent before laundering using the hottest water possible for the fabric.
As the clock chimes at midnight, you must eat a grape with each chime to welcome the new year in Spain. In 1909, grape growers in the Alicante region of Spain initiated this practice to take care of a grape surplus. The idea spread to Portugal and to former Spanish and Portuguese colonies, such as Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru. Each grape also is said to represent the upcoming months. For instance, if the ninth grape is sour, September is going to be a tough month.
But don’t let sour grapes or a grape stain ruin your year. To remove a grape juice stain, blot it as soon as possible with a clean white cloth or paper towel. Then, flush the fabric under cold water. Treat the area with a stain remover or detergent, letting it sit for about 15 minutes. Then, launder the fabric according to its care label.
The custom of eating pork on New Year's Day comes from the idea that pigs symbolize progress. Roast suckling pig is served for New Year's in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and Austria. A variety of pork dishes, such as pig's feet, is enjoyed in Sweden, and Germans feast on roast pork and sausages. In the United States, pork signifies a year of wealth and prosperity.
If you'll be having pork to mark the new year, be sure you can remove pork (and bacon) stains. Any raw meat dropped on fabric should be removed immediately and flushed or blotted with cold water before laundering according to its care label. Cooked pork or bacon is going to produce an oily stain on fabric. Blot the area with a clean white cloth or paper towel. You can even blot with a slice of white bread to absorb some of the oil, or sprinkle on a bit of cornstarch. Then, pretreat the fabric with a stain remover or detergent, letting it sit for roughly 15 minutes before laundering the fabric using the hottest water it can take.