New Years Traditions

The informant spoke of their New Year’s traditions surrounding the strike of midnight and the beginning of the new year. All these examples his mom would tell him to do but he never really asked why or questioned the point of it. He just knew that his mother knew best and so he would do as she said. The first example he gave was filling his wallet full of money which would then result in a year of wealth. To emphasize the year of wealth, he would also take a certain dollar bill depending on his choice, fold it, then wrap it with a red ribbon. Then he also indulged in the common 12 grapes traditions. As soon as the clock turns 12, the informant would eat 12 grapes and get 12 wishes for the new year. The informant states that he would try to eat the grapes as fast as possible because the faster he did it, the more likely the wishes would come true. Another example was having lentils on a plate and at the strike of midnight, he would grab a handful and throw it back behind himself. The remaining lentils are then supposed to be put into your wallet and it would provide a year full of wealth and prosperity. The informant added that his mother would tell him that lentils are a symbol of abundance. Lastly, the final example was surrounding a year full of travel. The informant would exit the house with their suitcase and walk a lap around the neighborhood, then return to their house.

The informant practiced these traditions on a varying basis, some years committing to certain traditions and others committing to none. He explains that his belief mainly focused on his belief in his mother and that he would only do it whenever his mom told him of a tradition. He heard of all of these through her but does not truly know where most of these traditions come from. 

It seems like many of the traditions come from sympathetic magic. They all seem to be things that you do to get the desired outcome of a whole year full of wealth, prosperity, travel and so many other things. Additionally, many of these traditions focus on wealth most likely due to the position the informant was in. The informant lived in Brookyln, New York with not much resources for him and his family so it only makes sense that his family would want to wish for that and try their best to somehow bring that upon themselves, even if it means doing all these traditions for the new year.