Ms. Marsha, Philip's mom for all of you not in the know tasked me to research myths of new years day. Interesting because my mom was telling me about how black eyed peas are supposed to be lucky. Well, here's an article you might want to consider about all the crazy Southern myths associated with new years day. I never knew about any of em, but according to this article in the Kansas Citty Harold dated 27 december 2002, there are these myths.
Matters Of Fact
By Dr. Edward Beasley
African Americans And
New Year’s Day Folk-Lore
It is interesting to study some African American folk-lore and myths regarding New Year’s Day. Many African Americans have a prevalence of beliefs originating
from superstitions, traditions and family beliefs of the Southern life experience past generations have had.
One main belief on New Year’s Day that African Americans consider is its lucky to eat black-eyed peas and hog’s head on this day, some saying that you will
have plenty to eat all year long, or that you will have as many dollars as the number of peas you did not eat your plate on. There is a belief coming from
African American folk-lore in Georgia that if you eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, "It will add beauty to your facial features by adding the appearance
of clear skin on your face". Here is a black folk-rhyme, coming from T.W. Talley’s "Negro Folk Rhymes", showing clearly the strength of the black-eyed
Dose black-eyed peas is lucky,
When e’t on New Year’s Day,
You allus has sweet’ taters,
an’ possum come yore way.
In a sense, New Year’s Day is prognostic of the whole year. African Americans in the past held a prevailing idea that empty pockets on New Year’s Day meant
a year of poverty, while even a handful of something would mean plenty throughout the year. My mother came from Mississippi and she held to the belief
that the children in our home had to have money, no matter how little, lodged in our pockets during this day. To go along with this she told us, "whatever
you do on New Year’s Day be careful because you will do that thing the rest of the year".
In the south, there was a belief if you stumble on the first day of the year, it is bad luck. If you leave the house before seven that morning, you will
hear of someone’s death. Also, the first 12 days of January are considered as presenting the 12 months of the year. If it rains on New Year’s Day, it will
surely be a rainy year.
Washing clothes on New Year’s day is a taboo. It is bad luck to leave clothes hanging on your fence or hanging any of your under garments on a clothes line
on New Year’s eve. Plus, there is a belief that if you do wash clothes on that day, you will wash someone out of your family. If you let your dress get
wet in the front, while you are washing, it is a sign that you will marry a drunkard. (Now, do not ask me, if this hold to males getting their trousers
African American males had one step ahead in this Southern myth which gave a preference to men coming into one’s home on New Year’s Day, as it was considered
a sign of good luck if a dark man was the first to enter one’s house. But, if a woman would be the first to enter the house on New Year’s Day, it would
be bad luck (now I am including the next part with a question, why?) and especially bad luck for any chickens on the farm, if a woman came through the
door first in the morning. This information is found in Newbell Niles Puckett’s "Folk Beliefs Of the Southern Negro".
I have found some of the myths and superstitions which are said to happen on New Year’s Day, also may occur at anytime in the remaining portion of the year.
Now, see if you have heard of these: If your left eye jumps, it means bad luck, but if your right eye jumps, it means good luck. If your left hand itches,
bad luck will come your way; if your right hand itches, it implies money will be coming your way.
I am quite sure there are many more New Year’s Day myths related to African American culture, I have not heard or read; therefore, I am sorry if I have
not included one of your beliefs.
So I suppose now, since I'm in Arkansas I should start making black eyed peas? I don't know, all I know is that we are supposedly having chilley tomorrow for some odd reason. I always was a bit non educated on southern culture. Now you all over the world know, and so do I.
And oh by the way, from home and garden TV
An apple myth, where do these people come up with this crap?
- Peel an apple until it breaks and toss the rind. Whatever letter it forms is supposedly the first letter of your true
Happy New Years eve to all. Wait a minut4e, the Aussies on my list are already in the New Year so happy 2004 to you all too.