Did you open up the house and let the old year out? You may have celebrated with singing, drinking, fireworks or gun shots, and shouting at the turn of midnight, but do you know why it is embedded in our culture to do these things?
We generally shout and make as much raucous noise as possible, because the devil and his demons evidently do not like loud noises.
With the doors and windows open at the stroke of midnight, and with the loud noises, evil is sure to be driven away, leaving plenty of room in your house for the New Year's new luck and better intentions.
Growing up, my grandmother always had corned beef and cabbage on New Year's Day.
Eating chicken or any other type of poultry was bad luck; birds scratch for their food, so you would spend the new year scratching for sustenance.
Pigs or pork on the other hand, eat while moving forward or rooting; eating pork ensures that you and your family will continually advance during the next year.
Cabbage is symbolic of paper money, while other legumes, such as lentils or black-eyed peas, represent coins and swell when cooked. It is customary in some places to eat a pea for every day of the incoming year.
Cabbage, peas, lentils and beans on a day that is often too cold to be outside? ... this may be the better reason for opening up all your doors and windows.
My wife may think of a few good reasons not to feed these items to a house full of boys.
A farmer I worked for as a teenager insisted that I carry something (anything -- even a stone or pebble if nothing else was at hand) when I entered the house.
He wouldn't allow anything to leave, and if possible, he wanted he and I both to bring things into his house that he liked and that were more symbolic of prosperity.
Do you know why you are to be kissing someone you love at midnight? This ensures a year of companionship. To not kiss a loved one at midnight is a sign that you will have a year of loneliness. It's better to start the year out with affection than with coldness.
I'm not too sold on everything that I'm supposed to do on this first day of the year.
However, I must admit that I do a lot to avoid the bad luck: I won't take anything out of my house and I try to take something in with me every time I enter. I try to get my kids to do the same thing.
I have seen many superstitions and beliefs regarding New Year's Day and my opinion is that it can't hurt anything.