New year, same superstitions being followed

Published 3:00 am Thursday, January 1, 2015

Beware of a man with painted toenails and never put too much stock in the words of three sisters, who claim to be just out shopping.

That’s probably good advice for most any situation but, not when picking brains about New Year’s Day superstitions. Then, it’s time to throw caution to the wind and just listen to what they have to say.

Johnny Garrett, his wife, Patricia, and her sisters, Mary P. Adams and Shirley Drosky and brother, John Parish, and his wife, Sue, put their heads together and came up with a bushel basket of superstitions that have been handed down through the generations.

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Many of the superstitions came from the late Dutch and Dot Parish.

“The older generations really believed in those New Year’s Day superstitions,” Johnny Garrett said. “Today, we don’t believe in them as much but there are still some things that we won’t do, just in case.”

Garrett said among the “just in case,” superstitions are ones like, don’t do washing on New Year’s Day or you’ll soon be washing a loved one away.

“Mama always said don’t do washing on New Year’s Day or you’ll be washing the clothes of dead folks,” Drosky said. “Mama also said you don’t sew on New Year’s or you’ll sew the clothes of dead folks. I don’t know why you’d need to sew the clothes of dead folks.”

Adams said to make sure that you’ll have money coming in all year long, you should bury your money under the doorsteps or somewhere outside before New Year’s Day.

“On New Year’s you dig the money up and carry it in the house,” Adams said. “Then, you’ll have money coming in all year long.”

Superstition also says if you take something out of the house, you should bring something back in so you’ll have something coming in throughout the year.

Patricia Garrett said house cleaning should be done before New Year’s Day.

“You need to put away the mops, brooms and dustpans because, if you sweep or dust on New Year’s, your fortune will be swept away.”

As for fortunes, the first person one meets and the first words heard determine the fortunes for the year. And, the first person to enter a house on New Year’s should be a man. Shoo women away if the try to come in the house first. A woman brings in bad luck.

And, don’t use knives or scissors as they could cut off your fortune.

It’s lucky to see or hear songbirds on New Year’s Day. Red birds bring especially good luck.

John and Sue Parish said eating black-eyed peas guarantee pocket money throughout the year and eating collards and turnips put green money in the wallet. Eating pork will bring good fortune because a pig always roots forward and you’ll move forward in the New Year. But don’t eat chicken on New Year’s or you’ll be scratching in the dirt in an effort to make ends meet.

Eating 12 grapes when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, one for each month, will bring good luck all year long.

Crying on New Year’s is taboo. Those who cry on New Year’s Day will be unhappy all year long.

So, with football bowl games set for New Year’s Day, this superstition should be given careful consideration, the Garrett/Parish clan said. Crying over the loss of a favorite team could set off 12 months of pouting.

Open the doors and windows at midnight on New Year’s Eve to let the Old Year out and the New Year in.

Drosky said kissing a midnight on New Year’s Eve means you will be treated with sweet affection all year long. So, if you are home alone on New Year’s Eve, kiss your dog or you cat. That works just as well, she said.

For those who don’t believe in New Year’s superstitions and don’t follow the advice of past generations, the Garrett/Parish family suggests sleeping with a horseshoe under your pillow for good luck – just in case.