New Year’s Traditions


The celebration of the new year has been going on for about 4000 years since the times of ancient Babylon.  It initially began after the first day of spring or the Vernal Equinox which is March 20th.  Spring was the logical time to celebrate the new year since it is a time of renewal, the birth of a new season in the garden.  In 153 BC the Romans reworked the calender and from that point on January 1st became New Year’s Day.  However in the early days of Christianity, the church declared it a celebration of paganism and so the holiday has only been acknowledged by western civilization for the past 400 years.  The most popular tradition is the making of resolutions which also dates back to Babylonian times.  Modern resolutions usually involve the quitting of bad habits such as smoking and losing weight.  In Babylonian times it was the return of borrowed farm tools.  The Tournament of Roses parade originated in 1886 by the Valley Hunt Club to honor the ripening of oranges in California.  The first Rose Bowl football game was played in 1902 as an accompaniment to the parade. 


The symbol of the baby started in Ancient Greece in 600 BC to celebrate  the rebirth of fertility for their god Dionysus (the god of wine).  It was traditionally thought that what one ate or did affected the luck one would have in the new year.  Some foods that are considered good luck are black-eyed peas, cabbage and rice.  It is also thought that anything shaped like a ring such as a donut is good luck too.  Finally the traditional song Auld Lang Syne is sung  at the stroke of midnight by most English speaking countries throughout the world.  This song which was published in 1796 and written by Roberts Burns means the “good old days”.



20 responses to this post.

  1. I can absolutely see celebrating New Years after the first day of spring. In my mind, that’s kind of when it starts anyway! 😉 I always eat black eyed peas too, whether it’s as a side dish, in a dip, whatever. Happy New Year to you Racquel. I hope it’s a good one.


  2. Posted by greenwalks on December 31, 2008 at 2:40 am

    Hadn’t heard about some of that stuff, including the good luck foods. My daughter would be excited if we had donuts! Maybe I can make some pancakes with circles cut out of the center. 🙂 Happy New Year to you!


  3. Lots of interesting facts, Racquel. My husband like the black-eyed peas tradition. :} I just like to think of New Years as a chance to start fresh on all my projects. Happy New Year to you!


  4. Hi Racquel, it’s 2009 tomorrow! I wish you and your family to have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!
    Lots of Love TYRA


  5. As I was laying awake not sleeping, I was actually wondering if there couldn’t be a more appropriate day to mark the new year. Like the Romans, I thought the first day of spring would be good. Now I can wonder if I need to return any gardening tools to anyone. We will be making Hoppin’ John, collards, stewed tomatoes and grilled cheese (for my son). I hope you have a happy and prosperous new year!


  6. Hi Racquel, thanks for this good info about the history of our celebrations. We always eat our blackeyed peas like good southerners on Jan 1, but when living in PA also had to eat pork and sauerkraut, luckily they mix well! HA, get it, luckily! 🙂 Hope your 2009 is the best year ever!


  7. Have to agree with Kathleen about spring, but that’s just the gardener in me talking. 🙂 Two traditions I always observe are the black eyed peas and no washing clothes. Mama has always said, “Wash your clothes on New Years Day and you wash a member of your family away.” No taking chances on that one for me.


  8. The only superstitious thing I do is kiss my husband at midnight and make resolutions and wish for the new year to bring great things. The history is very interesting. Happy New Years to you Racquel!


  9. That does it– I’m eating a dozen Krispy Kreme Donuts for breakfast tomorrow for good luck! 🙂

    Thanks for posting this history for us. HAPPY NEW YEAR! May all of your resolutions and wishes come true.



  10. found you at blotanical. grew up with the lucky meal of roast pork, dumplings and sauerkraut (cabbage). I have been taught to appreciate the one my wife grew up with… black eye peas and cornbread. what do you eat to keep pests away from and adequate rain falling upon your garden?


  11. Black eyed peas are supposed to be good luck? Gee, maybe I should prepare the whole bucket full today! LOL.

    Great information, I didn’t know most of it. All this stuff I don’t know sure makes me feel a little dim.


  12. I think the idea of donuts being a sign of good luck is great! Maybe we should forget about peas and cabbage and just eat a plate full of donuts! hehe!!

    Actually I have never heard of that one before. This was a very interesting post Racquel. The animated new year baby is cute and I like your new header!


  13. As usual Racquel your post was full of good information. I always wondered about Auld Lang Syne and now that I know what it means, I have been sitting here thinking about what WERE the “good old days?” When were they–what were they? Different for everyone I would think.

    Happy New Year to you. I am so glad 2008 brought us together as blogging friends, and look forward to sharing seeds again in 2009.
    Happy Gardening!


  14. Happy New Year to you!!!!


  15. Happy New Year, Racquel! Here in the Southwest (where I still am), we eat menudo for New Years. I actually won’t be, for a change–we’re going somewhere a little more chi-chi for dinner–so we’ll see what the year brings (we have a horse running tomorrow, so I hope there’s a little known New Year’s tradition about eating at a fancy place for luck in the coming year–I’ll let you know if it works). Best wishes for 2009 to you and your family.


  16. Racquel ! Happy New Year to you girl .. and best wishes for a great garden year coming : ) Joy


  17. Thank you for these highlights about marking and celebrating the New Year. Like Frances, my family will be eating Pork and Sauerkraut tomorrow with fresh baked bread and a bottle of dark beer.

    My resolution to lose weight will have to wait until January 2nd.


  18. Posted by Racquel on December 31, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Thanks everyone for your comments. Have a Happy New Year! (I was having slight computer problems today so I wasn’t able to reply individually to your comments, sorry!) See you in 2009!!! 🙂


  19. I’m not much of a football fan (OK, I’m not a football fan at all), but if I were in Pasadena, I’d hightail it to The Huntington Gardens, that’s for sure. They’re one in a long list of gardens I’d like to visit. Happy new year!


  20. Happy New Year Racquel Another wonderfully informative post.
    Warm regards


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