Saturday, January 1, 2011

Samedi: Root Work

Happy New Year to one and all who spend a moment or two here at my labor of love, HQ. Today, I’d like to offer a few world wide ideas about what can bring us luck on this most auspicious of days.

In England, chimney sweeps are considered particularly lucky today. Running into one, having one enter your house and/or shaking hands with one – particularly if you end up with soot on your hand – bodes very well for a prosperous and happy new year.

In Ireland and Scotland, the tradition of “first footing” continues to modern times. Historically, the cooking fire would be allowed to go our on New Years Eve and all the doors and windows would be opened at midnight to let out any built up negativity from the old year. The next day, visitors would bring coal or peat as a gift to kindle or add to the new cooking fire and the first visitor to enter the house would determine the household’s luck in the coming year. Particularly favored were strong men, originally warriors but now police or firemen or military men are popular. Pregnant women are about the only ones of their sex thought of as lucky. A particularly fortunate individual, the local police chief for instance, may be asked to literally go from house to house in a small community to insure good luck for all. His reward would be food, drink, or both offered at each residence.

In France, Spain and Italy, offering any leftovers from the New Years’ feast to those less fortunate is considered mandatory to insure luck. Any food held on to from the meal was said to rot preternaturally fast, taking the good fortune of the household with it as it spoiled.

In China, among the many New Year traditions, is the obscure good luck charm of the carved walnut. The shell of the nut, with the meat inside, is intricately carved most often with the image of the Buddha. These exquisite pocket pieces are given as gifts and carried for good luck.

These are just a few examples of New Year magick. Leave me a comment if your family has an unusual tradition along these lines. I’d love to have a whole new list for January 1, 2012. Happy New Year; I’ll look forward to seeing you in the year ahead.

Header: A Stroll in the Snow by JC Leyendecker (may 2011 bring you as much good fortune as this handsome couple clearly enjoys!)


Timmy! said...

Happy New year, Pauline!

No ususual traditions here... just football (and hockey for the last few years), ham and beer.

Pauline said...

I'm just kicking myself that I forgot Aunt Bette's old slogan: Unless you're Elizabeth Taylor, y'all wear all your diamonds on New Years Day. That way, you are sure to get more in the new year.

Good sense once again. I tell ya I wore mine... Timmy?