Welcome 2022



At the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1, people celebrate the upcoming new year by spending time with friends and family, breaking out into a chorus of “Auld Lang Syne,” making a toast to the new year, and proclaiming resolutions that will most likely be broken sooner than people want to admit. It is time to kiss the one you love, as well as those in the room with you.

As the day progresses traditions continue. It is customary to eat black-eyed peas, pork, and cabbage or collards on New Year’s Day to ensure good luck throughout the next 12 months. And while many participate in traditional customs, their origin remains a mystery to most.

Below are some little known thoughts about New Year’s Day traditions. Some are fun and festive, while others have a deeper meaning. But regardless of their significance, it is a time to celebrate and look forward to a prosperous year.

“Auld Lang Syne”

If you ask people what song they most associate with New Year’s Eve, they will likely tell you “Auld Lang Syne.” It is tradition and they accept that, but honestly, most people have likely never taken the time to dive into the history of the chorus.

“Auld Lang Syne’’ is actually a Scottish folk song transcribed by poet Robert Burns in the late 18th century. Roughly translating into “days gone by,” the lyrics rhetorically ask whether “auld acquaintance” (old acquaintances) should “be forgot.” Further interpretation reveals that people should not forget acquaintances, but should remember friends and experiences from the past. “Auld Lang Syne” has been sung since the mid- 19th century and is blasted across the loudspeakers after the annual ball drop in Times Square.

New Year’s resolutions

Each year a multitude of people make resolutions with good intentions. They include getting into shape, learning a new skill, or quitting a bad habit. People making resolutions and pledging to change is believed to have been happening for approximately 4,000 years. The ancient Babylonians made promises in order to gain favor with the gods and start the year off on the right foot. Unfortunately, statistics show that the majority of would-be reformers end up breaking the resolutions at some point.

Kiss, kiss

Why do people kiss on New Year’s? Although there are many thoughts and theories on this question, kissing allows a person to make a connection with another person. It may be more of an intimate connection or simply a peck on the cheek. And it is believed that not kissing someone at the stroke of midnight means you will spend the next 12 months unlucky in love; therefore, you are the one to set the tone for the upcoming year. Kiss or no kiss – the choice is yours. For those who choose kissing when the clock strikes 12, how long should the kiss be? It is believed that casual connections should kiss for at least seven seconds. And, if you kiss someone you have been seeing for a while, it may need to be as long as “you need to get a room.” Regardless, kissing helps make both physical and emotional connections.

Traditional New Year’s meal

As lunch or dinner time rolls around, the menu often features black-eyed peas, pork, and cabbage or collards. It is traditionally believed that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day will bring luck and good fortune. Some go even further and eat 365 peas to represent each day of the year to maximize their good fortune.

Often paired with black-eyed peas is cabbage or collard greens. Both are considered lucky foods and represent “folding money.” To open oneself up to prosperity, it is believed one needs to consume one of these leafy vegetables on Jan. 1. Some also believe that consuming a piece or two of “golden” cornbread is needed as the yellow is representative of bringing gold into the new year.

Eating pork on New Year’s Day is also believed to be a symbol of good luck. The old adage that pigs are always rooting forward symbolizes progress in the new year ahead. While it is unknown if eating these foods will actually bring good luck, it is a ritual that binds us together. And these days, binding together is vital.

When you think about it, New Year’s traditions signify the beginning. They kick off another 365-day journey of motivation for many new beginnings throughout the year. Sometimes it involves starting over or leaving some things in the past, yet it offers the opportunity to take on new challenges.

This year has presented many challenges to all. Loss, grief, and sadness have permeated each and every month, but if you will take time to truly reflect on 2021, you can find the things that helped you endure and the things that have made you stronger.

As we enter 2022, do some soul searching and find the things that truly make you happy. It may mean making your family and friends circle tighter, changing jobs, or thinking outside the box. Life is what you make it. We at The Blount Countian want to wish our readers a happy New Year and hope that whatever challenge or obstacle is thrown your way that you will persevere and make 2022 the best year ever.