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New Year's Customs

  • New Year's Customs

The celebration of the New Year is a tradition that dates back centuries.  People around the world gather to bid farewell to the old year and to celebrate the new.  It is a time to reflect on the past and to look ahead to all the potential and possibilities that the New Year brings. 

But Where did it all begin?

The ancient Babylonians are affirmed with being the first to celebrate the New Year around 4,000 years ago.  Their celebration was a religious festival that lasted eleven days in which they paid homage by offering sacrifices to their gods and goddesses.  The festival was held during the spring equinox, which marked the beginning of a new year for the Babylonians. 

The Greeks later adopted their own version of the holiday, calling it the Kalends, and it marked the beginning of their new year.  The Romans then continued the tradition though they moved the festivities to the first day of January.  This was done to honor the god Janus, who had two faces—one looking back at the past and one looking forward to the future.

Throughout history, diverse cultures have celebrated the New Year in their own ways.  In India, Hindus mark the occasion with a two-day celebration known as Sankranti.  In China, the holiday is referred to as the Spring Festival and is celebrated with a four-day holiday that includes fireworks and family reunions.  In Mexico, the celebration is a 15-day festival called Fiestas de Ano Nuevo.

The celebrations typically involve feasting, music, parades, and fireworks.  People also exchange gifts, make resolutions, and offer toasts to the New Year.  Although the traditions may vary from place to place, the spirit of the New Year still is the same and has continued throughout the centuries in many parts of the world.

Here in Appalachia

Some of the traditions in southern Appalachia are forgotten but this one gets an honorable mention.  At the stroke of midnight on December 31st. all doors and windows in the home are opened.  The pots and pans are gathered from the kitchen and are pounded together making a loud noise.  This custom was used to chase out the old year and bring in the new.

One tradition that originated in ancient Greece was brought to America by the Germans, was the birth of a newborn baby on New Year’s Day signified the rebirth of the New Year by announcing the birth by banner.  This tradition is still practiced today in some areas of the Appalachian Mountains.  In some communities, the first newborn on New Year’s Day receives recognition and gifts from the community.

The New Year tradition still practiced today by the entire southern region is the legendary New Year’s Dinner.  This traditional New Year’s meal must have black-eyed peas, pork loin, collard or mustard greens. The menu may be accompanied by other foods such as cornbread and mashed potatoes.  This meal symbolizes luck, friends, and money in the coming year.

Today, many cultures still celebrate the New Year in diverse ways.  Some use fireworks, some enjoy special meals and drinks, and some simply stay up late to welcome the new year in.  However, they choose to celebrate, the tradition of the New Year continues to bring joy and happiness to people all around the world.

New Years is a time of hope and optimism.  Our TEAM at Ashe High Country Realty is looking forwards to new opportunities and new beginnings for 2023.

Happy New Year 2023!

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