I’m abandoning New Year’s resolutions this year. My success rate is never very high anyway. Also I’ve decided my usual resolutions are unoriginal and uninspiring. I can choose any day of the year to lose weight or stop smoking. 2017 was a challenging year and although I’m always up for a challenge, it was tough. I want 2018 to be a more gentle year and to have more time to fully appreciate the joyous moments.
So, instead of the usual battles with myself to stick to my resolutions, I’m going to spend New Year’s Eve and Day acting out traditions from various cultures that will bring me luck. You might call them superstitions but I figure I can’t go wrong with a dose of good luck, and hey if it doesn’t work at least I learned a little more about the world.
It’s not as easy as I thought it would be. There are so many conflicting instructions. Some in the US say you mustn’t clean the house at all in case you throw out some residual good luck by mistake. Some Latin American countries say you must clean the house to leave room for the luck to come in. Some regions in China say you must clean but you can’t throw anything (including rubbish) out through the front door, it must be taken out of the house through the back door. Some say you must repay debts and others say you mustn’t. Who would have thought good luck could be so mysterious?
There’s an added complication. In the western world most of us follow the Gregorian Calendar but what about the rest of the world? Chinese New Year is in February, so I shouldn’t follow Chinese superstitions because I’d be doing them on the wrong day. Maori New Year (Matariki) is on a different day around the start of Winter every year according to the stars so there’s no point following those customs on 31 December.
While I was researching the best ways to get luck I suddenly had a flashback to my childhood in Rotorua, New Zealand and what my parents used to say. I hadn’t thought about this for years because I’d been so busy thinking about my resolutions for the future. Firstly we did clean the house from top to bottom but that was partly because we always had a party. Uncles, aunties and cousins would all arrive with guitars, ukuleles, spoons and whatever else they could make music with and we’d sing our way into the new year. Secondly we had to behave with kindness and sense on New Year’s Day because that way we’d be kind and sensible all year long. And lastly we had to have some fun so that we’d have fun all year. So along with my various luck bringing traditions, I’m going to do that.
Just for more luck, if it’s not too greedy, I’m going to throw in a couple more traditions from the Spanish speaking world. I’ll eat twelve grapes at midnight, one to represent luck for each month of the year. Then I’m going to get out my suitcase and walk around the house with it because (according to Mexican tradition) that means I’m going to travel.
And to cover all the bases, I’m cleaning out my voluminous handbag. Out go the old receipts, sweet wrappers, pamphlets, empty envelopes, broken pens. All that will be left is a nice empty space waiting to be filled up with airline tickets and my passport.
Do you have a resolution this year? Let me know what it is or feel free to take on one of my luck bringing traditions. I’ll keep you posted on how they go for me!