New Year’s predictions in lead | Moment's Notice

By Maria Montalvo | Jan 11, 2017

Every New Year’s Eve, I try to stack the deck for positive vibes in the next year by combining as many of the traditions for good luck as I can remember. From my Mom, I eat 12 grapes at midnight, since the Spanish believe it will bring happiness for the next 12 months.

I also wear yellow (color of luck in many cultures and countries), try to have money in my pocket (to signify being financially secure in the new year) and kiss my hubby as the clock strikes midnight (because I can).

Many European countries include some type of melted cheese in the New Year’s Eve menu, and we enthusiastically adopted that tradition. Germans melt lead and drop it in cool water to predict the future with the shapes created … they actually sell lead melting kits in the supermarket.

Considering my uncanny ability to burn myself, I am glad that one never caught on here.

Carrying away the bad is also prevalent in many observations. Putting anything from lentils to little boats with offerings into bodies of water takes place from India to Brazil. In the Caribbean, many literally sweep the old year out the back door (I read Puerto Ricans also throw buckets of water out of windows, but no one in my family has ever heard of that).

The Welsh open the back door as the clock first strikes midnight and then shut it as the last bell tolls to lock out the bad luck from the previous year. In the Netherlands, they light large bonfires with the Christmas trees to purge the past.

My husband and I have never gotten in the habit of singing “Auld Lang Syne,” like the rest of the world. Westerners have sung that song since the late 1700s when Scottish poet, Robert Burns, transformed an old Scottish phrase into the poem that since became the song, to encourage us to raise a glass to days gone by (or more accurately, to “old long since”).

We did, however, start a new year’s tradition of our own during a year characterized by more that we wanted to say goodbye to than we wanted to remember.

On the eve of each new year, we find a means to physically do away with things from the year that we were not so fond of – bad moments, stupid decisions, unfortunate events.

The first year, we got a bucket and encouraged all of our party guests to write down the things from the last year that they wanted to say goodbye to. We shared some and ripped up the papers after midnight.

The next year, everyone wrote their negative memories on clementine oranges and we threw them over a bluff. (We always check to make sure the perishable item will break down or be eaten by critters.)

In the years since, we have even taken a sledgehammer to food that captured these negative memories. The more loved ones involved in this process, the better. It is mutually cathartic and is always followed by offering good wishes for the year to come.

Our tradition may be a bit out of the ordinary, but a consistent theme in New Year traditions across the globe is that how you begin the year is how you will spend the rest of it, so as we ring in 2017 this year, I will be wishing us all hope, peace, and happiness.



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