“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
From the Word Wenches to you -- happiest of new years, and may 2014 be a happy, healthy, prosperous and incredibly wonderful year for you and yours!
Today is a stellar day in more ways than one – there’s a New Moon (at 3:14 a.m. PDT this morning) – the first time in a long while that this has occurred on New Year's Day. Considered a perfect time to make a fresh new start in any or all areas of your life, the New Moon -- especially on New Year's!-- is a time to make a wish and set your intention in your mind, and then celebrate it and give it some extra fairy dust by writing it down, lighting a candle, or doing something else to mark the occasion and the wish in any way that has personal meaning for you. Will the New Moon on New Year’s Day double your luck? Maybe! It’s definitely auspicious.
An auspicious something that invites good fortune into your life at the start of the New Year is welcome in everyone’s life today and every day – so I’ve compiled a list of some very auspicious things you can do on New Year’s Day. Try some of these, and may the luck of the new year be with you!
Historically, Babylonians, Romans and people of every era and culture marked the first day of the new year with prayers and promises and pledges to the gods. The Babylonians promised to return farm tools and cattle and pay their debts – always wise! – and the Romans looked to the god Janus for signs of good luck, and in the medieval era, vows and prayers, charms and portents (such as balancing a tea cake on a cows' horns to see which way it fell) were especially important on the first day of the new year. Whether Roman or Gregorian, Aztec, Jewish or Chinese, a calendar turns over on a special day, and whether the new year begins in January, February or March, a new year is a new year – and that all-important, symbolic, fortuitous first day offers a great chance for everyone to start again.
New Year’s Resolutions historically trace back to prayerful promises, vows and atonements in earlier societies. Now many still do the same, including making resolution lists of goals and changes we want to meet and make, and most will try to honor them for as long as they can manage. Make ‘em or break ‘em, love ‘em or not, resolutions are useful for some -- if a bugaboo for others.
The First-Footer – this is an old Scottish custom which also occurs in Northern England, and the Greeks have their version, too. After Hogmanay—New Year’s Eve—in Scotland, the first person to set foot in the home after midnight on New Year’s can bring good luck…or not-so-great luck to the household. The Scots regarded the very best of first-footers to be a tall, dark-haired, handsome man (who wouldn’t!) – and a red-headed man or woman the worst luckbringer (apologies to all the lovely gingers among us!). This was probably because, early on, a dark-haired guy was more likely to be a trustworthy Scot, and a redhaired guy more likely to be an unwelcome invader, whether Irish or Viking. So open your door to guests and ask the dark-haired ones to cross the threshold first, and be sure to welcome the others as well, we’ve all evolved, after all. ;) (My novella in Christmas Roses, “The Snow Rose,” is a story of what happens on New Year’s Day to one lonely Scottish lass when a handsome dark-haired first-footer arrives unannounced – and unwelcome, at least at first!)
Black-eyed peas – whether in soup or as a side dish, eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is very auspicious in the States, and particularly so in the South, where some families I know cannot imagine New Year’s Day without a fresh batch of nicely seasoned black-eyed peas and greens. The dish is particularly lucky with greens, or with rice, corn, ham – a very pretty and tasty dish. The tradition in the States may go back to Jewish immigrants arriving in the Colonies in the 18th century, bringing an ancient Jewish custom here. Tradition also claims a link to the Civil War, when the Yankees destroyed nearly everything in some areas, leaving only the black-eyes peas untouched in the fields, thinking them fit only for animals. Some Southern families survived on the peas, cooking them with greens. Also – beans represent coins and greens represent greenback dollars -- so cook up some lucky black-eyed peas today!
If you are into feng shui or want to give it a try on this important day – there are some actions you can take to make Good Fortune feel welcome in your home for the new year. For example –
Clean and declutter your home – this is best done before New Year’s Day, so if you did, excellent! If not, do not clean on New Year’s Day, or you could sweep good luck away – and you may declare that you’ll be working all year. Wait a day – you’ll still get a fresh new energy start early in the year.
Bring fresh flowers and/or a healthy new plant into your home to symbolize and stimulate new growth in your life. Certain plants represent certain things - a jade plant supposedly attracts money, a peace plant family harmony, and so on.
Wear RED today! Red is often considered lucky, especially on New Year's Day.
Roll nine oranges over the threshold into your house. Oranges are considering lucky, and their warm golden color represents gold and prosperity – and here it comes rolling into your house! Toss some coins inside with the oranges while you’re at it to welcome in good luck as well as money. Then, if you have some orange essence, spritz this around your entry or foyer area to cleanse the old energies and freshen up the new. And be sure to put some oranges in a bowl on your kitchen table for another auspicious touch.
Scatter nine (or 27, some say) coins (Chinese coins or your own denomination) under your front door mat to welcome money into your home.
Find a bell or a chime (or a singing bowl if you have one) and go around to the four inside corners of your home (the four main corners of the house, or the four corners of your living room will do too) – and ring the bell, letting the sound ring and fade out nicely. This is a great way to energetivibrationally clear the air and sweeten your home's energy at the start of the new year.
Then, when all that's done - find some paper and your favorite pen or your favorite journal and write down your wishes for the coming year -- and may they all come true!
Cheers to the New Year! Wishing peace, happiness and prosperity in 2014 – for the Wenches, for our readers, and for the world.
Do you have any favorite New Year's traditions? Anything that brings good luck is more than welcome! Please share!