New Year Traditions

Several readers asked me if I would write about New Year’s traditions. Although late, I agreed to their request; and as the old saying goes: better late than never.

For thousands of years, people have had the idea that what they do on the first day of the year will set the stage for the next twelve months.

Maybe – maybe not.

Looking into the topic, I found hundreds of myths but I’ll present only twelve. As you read these, keep in mind that we should not base our lives on superstitions or myths. We should be careful about what we believe, for what we believe becomes part of our worldview.

Here are the twelve, and I’ll add comments later.

  • Being debt-free. The year should be started owing no man anything; so all debt should be paid before the year ends. But do not repay debt on January 1 or you might be paying out all year long.
  • Kissing at midnight. The year is started out with affection to ensure that a loving year will follow. Otherwise, strife could be in the house all year long, and the sofa or couch might be the spare bedroom.
  • Eating black-eyed peas. This attracts good social favor, and financial prosperity. But poultry should be avoided lest poverty (scratching for food) overtake you.
  • Wear something new. This assures that you’ll receive new things throughout the year.
  • Stock your pantry. Be sure to have your cupboards or pantry filled with food before the old year ends, or you might have a lack of food for the remainder of the year.
  • Money available. Be sure to have plenty of money in the wallet or purse; this attracts prosperity throughout the year.
  • Breaking things. Whatever you do, do not break anything on January 1 or many things (business deals, cars, glass, etc.) may be broken or wrecked throughout the year.
  • Nothing should leave the house. Don’t even step through the door to get the newspaper. Nothing and no one is to cross the threshold on January 1 in order to ensure safety and conservation throughout the year.
  • Be kind. Be considerate and caring to others so that kindness will fill your house all year.
  • Let the old year out. Open all house doors before midnight to release the old year. The new year cannot enter until the old has left.
  • Make loud noises. Loud noise scares away the devil and evil spirits, so make as much noise as possible.
  • Be praying at the stroke of midnight. If you start the year praying, you will receive blessings all year long.

Most of those myths are only superstitions and we should not base our lives on myths or superstitions. However, several of them are not myths, but are good ideas to follow all year long. For example:

Being debt-free: Romans 13:8 says, “Do not owe people anything, except always owe love to each other, because the person who loves others has obeyed all the law.” Think that one through.

Kissing at midnight: My wife and I kiss often, even when it is broad daylight. We love each other. Also, sleep is more complete when we end the day with a loving attitude. Ephesians 4:26 hints at this: “…be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day.” In other words, solve the problems before you “hit the sack”. One woman asked, “That’s good advice, but what do you do if the offence takes place after sundown?” The counselor said, “Well, if it’s not a ‘9-1-1’ situation, the couch in the living room might provide emotional space; then you can handle the problem in the morning.”  Hmmmmm……

Be kind: Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you.” This exhortation could prevent sleeping on the couch.

Praying at the stroke of midnight: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus.” So don’t base your life on superstitions or myths which generate fear. Instead, base your life on sound Biblical instruction. This will enhance your quality of life all year long.

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