In September of 2001 I lost my Granny, and though I still think of her all the time, the end of the year is when her I hear voice truer than ever in my mind reminding me of the New Year. Half Cherokee Indian and as simple and southern as they came, my granny was a very superstitious woman and I will always carry on her New Year’s Day traditions and pass them on to my children as well, as silly as I think they may be in the back of my mind. She had three, each equally important, though simple as can be.
Black Eyed Peas for Health
If you want good health throughout the New Year, you better have a pot of black eyed peas with ham hocks cooking on your stove on New Year’s Day. Now, my granny wasn’t completely on her own with this one. Black eyed peas are a long standing southern tradition for the day, though most eat them for prosperity and good luck in the New Year. A an ancient Jewish tradition brought to the United States in by way of Georgia in 1730 and adopted by non-Jews around the time of the Civil War. When the tradition transitioned from “luck” to “health” for our family, I’m not sure, but it isn’t any wonder why since the health benefits of black eyed peas include lots of fiber, potassium, zinc and iron.
Greens for Wealth
You cannot think of a southern meal without thinking of a big ole pot of greens, so of course they made their way into granny’s New Year’s Day traditions, usually a fresh pot of collards were served up, though I must say I prefer mustards. Now, my granny was never a wealthy woman, in fact, many would have considered to be living in poverty, but looking back I see that she always had just what she needed and some that sweet little old lady always had a roll of green pinned in the underside of her housecoat, near her chest, ready for any emergency that may have occurred. I still eat greens every year myself, and while I’ve never been “wealthy,” I realize that just like my granny, I’ve always been provided with “enough,” so this tradition (also dating back to the Civil War) will stand strong.
Do NOT Wash
The one tradition of my granny’s that always freaked me out and left me scrambling as a young woman to make sure my laundry was done by December 31, was this one. “Do not wash on New Year’s Day, you’ll wash someone’s life away,” she would say. Superstition or not, you will never see me put a load of clothes in my washer and find me eating on paper goods on the first because I don’t think I could ever forgive myself if a loved one’s life was cut short soon after. Now, I have no clue where this traditional superstition originated from, but in the long run, who doesn’t love a good excuse to avoid their laundry and dishes for a day?