New Year’s, as it turns out, is far more than a time for making a few unreasonable resolutions. This is when people all over the world -- and not all of them are drinking -- do unusual things for the sake of starting the new year off oddly, just because they always have done these things.
Throwing salt with your right hand over your left shoulder.
Jumping off a chair the moment the clock strikes 12.
Pouring water on your porch.
Those were contributed to Yahoo Answers by a sender asked about weird New Year’s traditions.
These activities make stealing a quick kiss, twirling a noisemaker, watching the ball drop, and eating too much pork and sauerkraut seem sort of tame.
World of traditions
New Year’s, as it turns out, is far more than a time for making a few unreasonable resolutions. This is when people all over the world -- and not all of them are drinking -- do unusual things for the sake of starting the new year off oddly, just because they always have done these things. Does there need to be a better reason than that? If so, tell us, because otherwise we’re going to get weird.
According to HotelClub Travel Blog, for example, people in Talca, Chile, have been spending their New Year’s with dead relatives at a cemetery in that small city.
“The tradition began in 1995, when a local family jumped the fence to spend New Year’s near their father’s grave,” the December blog entry said. “Now over 5,000 people have adopted the tradition.”
In many Spanish-speaking countries in South America, writes ane-mailer to the Web site Associatedcontent.com, there is a tradition of wearing yellow underwear.
“It doesn’t matter what type of yellow underwear, it just has to be yellow. You are supposed to buy a pair, and right after midnight, run and change into your new yellow underwear. I’m not sure what the point is, but wearing yellow underwear on New Year’s Day supposedly brings you good luck.”
A writer to a blog at Winnepegbluebombers.com claims that she had some English friends who protected their loved ones against hunger for the rest of the year by leaving bread and milk on their back door on New Year’s.
“At the stroke of midnight ... one ran in one direction and the other in the opposite direction three times around the house and met at the FRONT door! It was supposed to be a wish for ‘good luck andprosperity.’”
A lot more is going on in the first moments of each year than I had imagined.
Our motives for doing such things are based on beliefs that are sort of selfish and more than a little silly, according to a list of “Strange New Year Superstitions” on Socyberty.com. Some are contradictory.
While babies born Jan. 1 are considered lucky, crying and wailing on that day is a bad thing, noted a second superstition on the list.
Kissing at midnight increases affections and attachments, according to another superstition. But I’d bet it also can strain those affections if you’re caught kissing too many people to whom you’re not attached.
Finally, draining a bottle of booze on New Year’s is thought to bring good fortune, the Web site said. It also noted, however, that “if any precious things like money, jewelry, etc., leave the home on this day, luck will go out of the home,” and I’ve noticed that the more bottles a guy drains the more likely he is to eye my wallet or my watch.
Contact Gary Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.