New Year’s Tradition: No Dirty Laundry

Main Piece:

The following was transcribed from an interview between the informant and the interviewer.

“You wanna have all of your laundry done going into the new year. You don’t want to go into the new year with any dirty laundry… and i can imagine that might have just started with, from you don’t want to be carrying a baggage, any dirty baggage, or anything from the former year into the new year. So, you have to have all your laundry done. That was a superstition to start your New Year off.”


I collected this piece of folklore during an interview at the informant’s house. My informant, my mother, is African American who grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and who currently resides in California. She used to do this as she was growing up taught by her family.

 My Thoughts:

My informant believes that this tradition is important because it signifies not having any old baggage going into the new year. It represents starting the new year with a clean, fresh start. This tradition is meant to encourage leaving emotional baggage that happened in the previous year. This tradition symbolizes washing away the old and being ready for the new.