13 New Year’s Traditions and Superstitions

13 New Year’s Traditions and Superstitions

An empty suitcase could mean travel in 2021!

Before I get started, let me introduce myself. I am Barb, 65-years-young, African-American who was born, raised and educated in Pittsburgh. I currently work for VisitPITTSBURGH as the Destination and Visitors Services Manager. I grew up in a family that believed in and practiced many superstitions – everyday as well as New Year’s superstitions. While I do not walk under ladders, I do bless a sneeze, and 13 is sort of my lucky number. 

So, back to it. Are you going to wake up January 1, 2021, realizing that the last nine months really didn’t happen? Probably NOT! Are you wondering how we went from a very promising start of a new decade to nine months and counting of uncertainty?

Perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your end of year customs.  

Rounded up below are 13 of the most popular New Year's traditions and superstitions for your consideration:

  1. Kiss at Midnight - The person you kiss at midnight will be your lifelong love.

    Thought: Would this work with your dog, cat, ferret or bird? I think they do, so why not consider pet adoption! Animal Friends or Humane Animal Rescue both offer adoption services. Not ready to pull the trigger on this one? Donate so they can continue providing services.

  2. 12 Grapes at Midnight - One grape for each month to bring year-long good luck.

    Thought: I’m thinking 12 ounces of wine could do the trick, so let’s go local! Engine House 25 offers a variety of red and white hand-crafted wines. While the tasting room is currently closed, I would recommend coming back for a tasting and the cheese board. Yum!

  1. Fill Your Kitchen Cabinets - It's bad luck to start the new year with no food.

    Thought: Grocery shopping New Year's Eve replaces being dateless. Make a run to the Strip District for all your New Year's needs: cheese from Pennsylvania Macaroni Company; Asian staples from Lotus Noodle; all your fish from Wholey’s; all your Greek food staples from Stamoolis Brothers Co. and so much more! Why stop there? Make a donation to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and make sure your neighbors also have full cabinets for the new year.

  2. Have Cash in Your Wallet - To experience prosperity in the new year, you must have cash in your wallet.

    Thought: Does that include all the gift cards and certificates I've accumulated in my personal mission to support all my local favorite businesses? They are cash equivalent, right?

  3. Don't Clean the House on New Year’s Day - You will wash away any good luck coming your way.

    Thought: No problem – never have to tell me twice on this one! I have plans to 

    pick up my favorite knitting magazines, maybe a new romance novel and on New Year’s Day I’ll be listening to my smooth jazz while contemplating my next knit project. 
  1. Open the Doors and/or Windows at Midnight - Let the old year and bad spirits out.

    Thought: A little fresh air never hurts; it could even help rid your house of the smell of dinner you burned the night before.

  2. Eat Collard Greens and Black-Eyed Peas - Collards represent cash, and black-eyed peas represent coin to bring wealth in the new year.

    Thought: Stock up on these! Go vegan at least once a week to keep the cash flow coming!

  1. The First Person to Enter Your Home - A dark-haired male should be the first person to cross the threshold bringing good luck and a gift.

    Thought: Easy…I will call my son to say, "Come visit your mother and bring my granddaughter with you!"

  1. Don’t Eat Lobster, Crab or Chicken - Lobsters walk backwards; crabs walk sideways; and because chickens have wings, your good luck could “fly away.”

    Thought: Stick with the pig because he always moves forward – plus, I have a delicious pork chop recipe! And another run to the Strip District to get pork from Strip District Meats. They have a huge variety of beef, pork and lamb, as well as smoked meats. Visit their website and pick a recommended recipe to try, then go visit in person. For the more adventurous, Strip District Meats also offers a wide variety of exotic meats including elk, emu and venison!

  2. Make Some Noise - Scare away any evil spirits.

    Thought: Don’t have noisemakers…stack up some pots and pans then accidently knock them over. That would scare the bejesus out of anybody!

  3. Carry an Empty Suitcase - Walk around your home with an empty suitcase inviting new adventures to you in the new year.

    Thought: Then go online and start checking travel deals! May I suggest you visit Pittsburgh in the near future? I'm here to help you plan!

  1. Write Down Your Wishes, Hopes and Dreams - Then burn the paper ensuring they come true.

    Thought: Keep it small…otherwise the first person to cross your threshold might be a tall, dark, handsome fireman!

  2. Start a New Calendar - Throw away last year’s calendars and open up new ones.

    Thought: Be honest: do you really want to keep a 2020 calendar?

In case you are wondering, I’m trying my hardest not to repeat 2020! I plan to eat/drink grapes on New Year’s Eve, and I will be making pork chops, black-eyed peas and collards on New Year’s Day. And, I will NOT be doing anything that remotely resembles work. Happy New Year!