Collard greens and black-eyed peas: exploring New Years traditions

By: Blayne Alexander Email
By: Blayne Alexander Email

News 12 at eleven o'clock -- Friday, December 31, 2010

AUGUSTA, Ga. --- Have you ever taped money to the back of your door? Or rushed to wash all of your laundry by the stroke of midnight?

According to some people, if you want to have a prosperous new year, that's the way to do it.

With 2011 looming in the air, many are looking to get a lucky start to the new year. And most say, the first step is as easy as a trip to the grocery store.

"My family always has black-eyed peas and collard greens," says Jephrey Gordon.

"Collard greens for cash money, black-eyed peas for change," says Bobbie Calhoun. "And I have no idea what pork was for, but we always had to eat it."

Around the area, grocery stores made sure to keep the lucky items in stock. And for New Years, many stores keep all three items - pork, black-eyed peas and collard greens - all in the same location.

But if chowing down on a ham hock isn't your thing, there's another tradition almost anyone can get into:

"Kissing someone at the stroke of midnight," smiles Bobbie. "Try to start the new year with a kind of happy-go-lucky feeling and to keep that going throughout the year."

In downtown Augusta, one man sits outside of Metro Coffeehouse with a basket of mistletoe, offering a stem to anyone who passes by.

"I want to make sure everyone has a good New Years," he says. "It offers fertility and good luck in marriage."

If you really want some luck, try ushering a man into your house on New Years Day. Tradition dictates that a man, preferably a good-looking one, must be the first person to enter a house on New Years Day, bringing with him good luck for the year.

"I've got a man!" Jephrey laughs. "We'll make him go outside and come back in!"

It may all seem like a lot of trouble, but they do it for one reason:

"It's just tradition! My mom and my grandmother did it, and I still do it with my children," Jephrey says.


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