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Extension > Extension in your Community > Douglas > County Horticulture Educator > Articles > Start Your New Year Off Right

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Start Your New Year Off Right

The year 2020 is in our rearview mirror, and we are headed into the unknown of 2021. Making resolutions and getting the year started off on the “right foot” is the wish of many this season, especially considering the trials and tribulations that 2020 brought. Growing up in Maryland, and living my adult young life in the southern United States, I have adopted the tradition of serving up black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. If you're not familiar with this particular tradition, let me enlighten you.

Eating black-eyed peas on New Year's is supposed to bring the eater good luck and prosperity in the coming year. My favorite dish to prepare is "Hoppin' John." This is a traditional southern dish containing black-eyed peas and rice, with chopped onion and sliced bacon, seasoned with a bit of salt. (Good hearty eating on that COLD New Year's Day.)

The peas are symbolic of pennies or coins, and a coin is sometimes added to the pot or left under the dinner bowls. Served up with a side of dark green veggies, which add to the wealth since they are the color of money, you are guaranteed to have a prosperous year. Not that I am the superstitious sort, but I always like to hedge my bets.

Here are some other traditions and superstitions that supposedly get you off on the right foot for the coming year:

  • Making noise, setting off firecrackers, and general raucous merry-making scares off the "evil spirits" that are setting their sights on doing you wrong in the New Year.
  • Kissing your loved one at midnight ensures a year full of love and happiness.
  • Washing clothes on New Year's Day is bad luck, so steer clear of the laundry room for the day.
  • Opening your doors and windows at midnight ushers the old year out and allows the new year to enter.

Some traditions run along the same theme: Whatever you do on New Year's Day extends throughout the year, so:

  • Don't cry, or you'll spend the year crying.
  • Accomplish good works, and your year will be filled with good work.
  • Don't break anything, or destruction and bad luck will fill your year.

I personally see the new year as a fresh start, like a blank sheet of paper ready for a beautiful drawing or an engaging story. I like to start new things on New Year's Day. I might try a new recipe, begin a new book, or try my hand at a craft I haven't successfully completed before.

If you are looking for something new to do in 2021, don’t forget to check out my new garden talk webinar series starting January 6 with Garden Design. Visit https://extension.umn.edu/event/garden-talk.

Whatever your New Year's traditions, I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year.