Today one of my staff gave me hand-full of lentils and told me to put it in my pants’ pocket on New Year Eve. She claims that this will make me make mucho dinero in the coming year.
Unlike the United States, where New Year’s day is spent nursing hangovers and watching football, there are a variety of ways different cultures celebrate the coming of the New Year. In Japan, for example, New Year’s day is one of the most celebrated holidays. Japanese people spend it visiting family member, neighbors and friends. The first sunrise on New Year’s day is observed in great reverence, as is the first meal of the year, as well as the first bath taken in the new year.
All around the Mediterranean, while Christmas or the Muslim Eid is the time to spend with one’s family, New Years’ Eve is the day spend with one’s friends, dancing, visiting, and all the other accouterments of partying. Women usually plan weeks ahead to time to choose a dress to wear.
My mother always cleaned the house and prepared a New Year’s menu well ahead of the new year. For her, it was a bad omen to cook and clean on New Year’s Day, where she was fearful of doing it every day of the year thereafter.
In Syria, a special New Year’s dish prepared was required to be white in color, meaning that there would be no sadness or sorrow for the remainder of the year.
In Spain, a sweet, crown shaped bread is served in the first week of January. A small doll is randomly inserted in the loaf when the bread is almost finished baking. Whomever gets the slice with the doll must then hold a party of every friend who is present in the room during the January gathering.
Also in some counties in Mexico, just as the clock turn 12, people pull an empty suitcase and run around the neighborhood. They think this will make their new year full of fun trips.
Well now, If you see me at midnight running around pulling a suitcase with lentils spelling from my pocket, please don’t call the police.
Have fun, stay safe and have a very Happy and Healthy New Year.