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. The resolutions are often made to improve bad habits like smoking or over-eating or spending too much money. Resolutions can be big or small but they are under your control to keep or break.
And then there are the 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 what foods to eat to spending habits to finding true love. All of these superstitions are based on the belief that following them will welcome good luck and ward off bad events in the coming year. Are there rituals you can follow for better laundry results in the New Year?
New Year's Day Laundry Superstitions
After you've kissed a loved one at midnight, pay heed to these laundry superstitions. Here are four New Year's Day superstitions to help you have a less troublesome new laundry year.
Following these suggestions won't get rid of laundry duty, but, hey, it can't hurt!
- Don't do laundry on New Year's Day or a member of the family will be washed away (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.
New Year's Day Laundry Resolutions
Now that you've learned what not to do, how about make some laundry resolutions to make life a little easier in the coming year?
- I will treat stains as soon as possible.
- I will wash full loads but not overload my washer.
- I will use an indoor or outdoor clothesline more often.
- I will use vinegar and baking soda to boost performance and use less detergent.
- I will promptly fold or hang my laundry to avoid wrinkles.
- I will clean the dryer lint trap after every load.
- I will clean my washer monthly.
- I will make my laundry workspace more attractive.
- I will teach others to do the laundry.
New Year's Day Foods and Stains From Around the World
Most cultures have lucky and traditional foods that are eaten on New Year's Day. These foods are said to improve the odds that your next year will be a great one. So, enjoy the foods and then you can amaze your friends and family with a bit of trivia and how to remove the stains.
Baked goods and cakes are traditional foods for the holiday season and are found in most 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 and 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. The finder will be lucky in 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. At midnight or after the New Year's Day meal, the cake is cut with the first piece going to St. Basil and the rest being distributed to guests in order of age.
In Scotland, where New Year's is called Hogmanay, there is a tradition called "first footing," in which the first person to enter a home after the new year determines what kind of year the residents will have. The "first footer" often brings symbolic gifts like coal to keep the house warm or baked goods such as shortbread, oatcakes, and a fruit cake called black bun, to make sure the household always has food.
Champagne is the traditional New Year's Eve drink. But why? Until the French Revolution, most important occasions were marked by religious ceremonies. But after the Revolution, champagne replaced Holy Water as secular activities grew in popularity. The tradition of drinking champagne 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 nineteenth century, drinking champagne had become a worldwide symbol of celebration.
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 produce a good harvest when eaten for the New Year.
Whether you are preparing or enjoying the New Year's fish, you can easily remove fish stains.
At clock chimes at midnight, you must eat a grape with each chime to welcome in 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. It is important to swallow all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight, however; Peruvians insist on taking in a 13th grape for good measure.
Each grape also represents the upcoming months. If the ninth grape is sour, September is going to be a tough month. Learn how to take care of any tough grape stains.
As a Southern girl, every New Year's Day table had a big bowl of collard greens. If we ate those greens, we'd have a year of folded green dollars in our pockets. Cooked greens, including cabbage, collards, kale, and chard, are eaten at New Year's in different countries as a symbol of economic fortune. The Danish eat stewed kale sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon while Germans consume sauerkraut (cabbage).
Most green vegetables don't cause tough stains but the seasonings that are added do. Learn how to take care of those oily stains and keep some green in your pocket.
In the Southern United States, it's traditional to eat black-eyed peas or cowpeas in a dish called hoppin' john. There are even those who believe in eating one pea for every day in the new year. This all traces back to the legend that during the Civil War, the town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, ran out of food while under attack. The residents fortunately discovered black-eyed peas and the legume was thereafter considered lucky.
Legumes including beans, peas, and lentils are also symbolic of money. Their small, seedlike appearance resembles coins that swell when cooked so they are consumed with financial rewards in mind. In Italy, it's customary to eat cotechino con lenticchie or sausages and green lentils, just after midnight—a particularly propitious meal because pork has its own lucky associations. Germans also partner legumes and pork, usually lentil or split pea soup with sausage. In Brazil, the first meal of the New Year is usually lentil soup or lentils and rice, and in Japan, the osechi-ryori, a group of symbolic dishes eaten during the first three days of the new year, includes sweet black beans.
Most legumes don't cause too many stains but when they are mixed with butter or oil, the stains will come.
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 are enjoyed in Sweden while Germans feast on roast pork and sausages. In the United States, pork signifies a year of wealth and prosperity. Learn how to remove those lucky pork stains.