Let’s travel around America (and the world!) and take a look at some January 1st traditions that don’t involve throwing up behind a shrub outside a stranger’s apartment complex.
Black Eyed Peas (The American South)
It is customary for many Americans in the South to eat black eyed peas on New Year’s Day (and I’m not just talking about Josh Duhamel’s house). Black eyed peas are often used in symbolic harmony with collard greens and pork: the peas are thought to bring on prosperity; the collard greens bring on money; and the pork brings on positive motion. When mixed all together and eaten, the finished dish brings on torrential diarrhea.
Readers, we did a Google Image search of "diarrhea" for you. We hate ourselves so much right now.
Eating black eyed peas for a lucky new year is thought to have originated with the first Jewish settlers in Georgia in 1730, and the tradition was adopted by many fellow colonists; because if there’s any people whose history suggests they know how to have a really good and lucky year, it’s the Jews.
The Festival of Saint Basil (Greece)
In Greece, New Year’s Day is celebrated as the Festival of St. Basil, who is better known as the Patron Saint of Delicious Tomato Sauce. On Saint Basil’s Day, each Greek household makes vassilopitta, or a Saint Basil’s Cake, and eats it as a family. Besides copious amounts of raw basil leaf, hidden inside the cake is a coin; whoever finds the coin in the cake is said to win good luck for the year, as well as the added bonus of pooping out a coin.
The Rose Bowl Parade and Football Game (California)
Since 1916 the Rose Bowl game has been played every year in Pasadena, California. Originally contested by the athletes in a giant patch of thorny rose vines, the game mercifully switched to a football field in 1927 amidst concerns of increasing on-field blood-loss related deaths.
Apparently safety is supposed to be an improvement??
A recent development, the Rose Bowl game is now preceded by a nationally televised parade, which is thought to be the largest gathering of inflatable Curious George worshippers in the world.
The Rose Bowl is traditionally known as The Grandaddy of Them All, a title that may soon be taken over by Tiger Woods.
The Japanese begin each New Year by hanging a rope of straw outside their doors in order to ward off the evil ancient spirits. While this may seem quaint, the rope of straw actually contains fiber optic video sensors, costs $9,000, and won’t be available in the United States until 2017.
This sums up our international relationship.
Another remnant of an older time, paper lobsters are often made and strung about the house. The Japanese look to the lobster for longevity because of its curved back, which resembles the curved back of an old person; these lobsters are also hung to ward off weird Japanese lobster pornography.
However (and wherever) you celebrate your New Year’s Day, may your rituals, traditions, tics, and sacramental burnings bring you joy, luck, and prosperity in the coming year; because you’re going to need joy to get you through the pain of torrential diarrhea, luck to not accidentally click on one of those weird Japanese lobster porn videos, and prosperity to pay the plumber to unclog your toilet after you block it up with that coin you just pooped out.
Happy New Year!