Sunday, January 1, 2012

Little New Year

Little New Year

Not much is said about New Year’s except for parties and fireworks so I thought I’d share a couple of somewhat different things.

A tradition shared by a friend several years ago and one I have kept up is the burning of a bayberry candle on New Year’s Eve. The candle has to burn itself out during the evening and then one is supposed to receive good luck, good health, and much wealth in the New Year. I love the admonition on the candle box “Use in a sturdy holder and keep away from draughts. The candles are best stored horizontally in a cool place out of reach of rodents!” A rhyme on the candle box says: “Burning a bayberry candle from tip to socket puts luck in the home and gold in the pocket.” It is supposed to work best if the candle comes from a friend.

“Little New Year.” I’m not sure if this tradition comes from Scotland or Wales since Bopa’s family has some of each plus some Manx heritage. In his family they always got a gift on New Year’s Day. It was a small thing, wrapped in white tissue, red ribbon, no tape, and included a new article of clothing (a pair of socks was the tradition in our family), a coin, and some small thing to eat (piece of candy, a nut, a cookie, or a small orange). I think this is meant to be a promise for the New Year that one will have money in the pocket, something new to wear, and something to eat all through the year. It sounds almost more Scottish (the money in the pocket thing at least) so I lean toward that as the origin. I liked the idea so we have always had a “Little New Year” and passed the tradition down to the next generation.

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