For the past several years I have stayed home on New Year's Eve.  There are many reasons why I don't "ring in the New Year" outside of my apartment.  It's too cold, I don't want to curl my hair, I hate sloppy drunk people, just to name a few.

You might think I'm crazy, but there are several auspicious acts I perform to invite Lady Luck into my world and ward off evil in the New Year.  Here are some New Year's superstitions:

1.  Stock up:  The New Year must not be seen in with bare cupboards, lest that be the way of things for the year.  (Hy-Vee, here I come!)

2.  Paying off bills:  The New Year should not be begun with the household in debt, so checks should be written and mailed off prior to January 1st.  Likewise, personal debts should be settled before the New Year arrives.

3.  First footing:  The first person to enter your home after the stroke of midnight will influence the year you're about to have.  Ideally, he should be dark-haired, tall and good-looking.  It would be better if he came bearing gifts such as a lump of coal, a silver coin, a bit of bread and some salt.  Blonde and redhead first footers bring bad luck and female first footers should be shooed away before they bring disaster down on the household.  (If I'm going to have a dark-haired, good-looking man enter my home, maybe I should go out on New Year's Eve ~ wink wink)

4.  Nothing goes out:  Nothing, absolutely nothing, not even garbage is to leave the house on the first day of the year.  Don't so much as shake out a rug.  One who lives alone might place a lucky item or two in a basket that has a string tied to it, then set the basket just outside the front door before midnight.  After midnight, haul in the basket by the string.  Don't reach your hand out the door.  (I've avoided this step the last 3 years by not even leaving the house on New Year's Day.  Why bother with all that.)

5.  Lucky foods:  Eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day will attract both general good luck and financial good fortune.  (I tried black-eyed peas one year and almost tossed by cookies.  Yuck!)  Other lucky foods are lentil soup (yuck), and pork.  Don't eat poultry because poultry scratches backwards, a cow stands still, but a pig roots forward.  Therefore people who eat pork on New Year's Day will move forward in the New Year.  My mom is German and has made pork and sauerkraut on New Year's Day for as long as I can remember.

6.  Work:  Make sure to do, and be successful at, something related to work on the first day of the year, even if you don't go near your place of employment that day.  Don't engage in a serious work project because that would be unlucky.  Don't do laundry on New Year's Day, lest a member of the family be 'washed away' (die) in the upcoming months.  Some people even refrain from doing dishes.

7.  New clothes:  Wear something new on January 1 to increase the likelihood of your receiving more new garments during the year to follow.  (I'll buy new pajamas, because I don't plan on getting out of them on New Year's Day.)

8.  Money:  Do not pay back loans or lend money or other precious items on New Year's Day.  To do so is to guarantee you'll be paying out all year.  Place plenty of money in every wallet in the home to guarantee prosperity.  (I've put money in my wallet the last few years and I've had money in my savings account at the end of each year.)

9.  Letting the old year out:  At midnight, all the doors of a house must be opened to let the old year escape.

10:  Loud noise:  Make as much noise as possible at midnight.  You're scaring away evil spirits.

11.  Find future groom:  On New Year's Day, if, on rising, a girl should look out of her bedroom window and see a man passing by, she may reckon to be married before the year is finished.  (With my luck, the first guy I see would be the dumpster diver who searches for aluminum cans.)

I don't really consider myself to be a superstitious person, but for someone like me, if it weren't for bad luck, I would have no lucky at all, I'm willing to try anything.

Happy New Year!

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