Our one and only New Year’s Eve tradition is putting a coin outdoors before the clock strikes 12. Every year a coin goes out; every year a coin comes back in. The husband insists the custom is supposed to bring good fortune and prosperity.
We are still waiting.
We’ve had black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day a time or two, another tradition that is supposed to bring good fortune, but for the most part our celebrations have stagnated.
If stagnation can be a New Year’s tradition, it has become ours.
But hold on, we may break tradition this year. We may mix it up and do something exciting. I’ve been reading about traditions around the world. We may go global this year.
People in Romania are about coins, just like we are. They throw them into the river. Maybe that’s where we went wrong. We held onto the coins instead of tossing them. This year we go to the river and throw in a few hundred.
In Spain, people eat a grape for every strike of the hour at midnight. I can’t quite visualize eating 12 grapes in rapid succession, but in the name of adventure, I’m not ruling it out.
People in Denmark save unused dishes and plates until New Year’s Eve and then, and I’m quoting here, “affectionately shatter them against the door of friends and family.” I have never seen anything affectionately shattered, but I’m willing to try.
The French often celebrate the New Year by eating a stack of pancakes. I’ve always liked the French.
In some parts of South Africa, they throw old furniture out the window. And to think of the years we spent watching the ball drop over Times Square on television when we could have been throwing furniture.
In Columbia people carry suitcases around with them in hopes of having a year filled with travel. It’s worth a try.
People in Switzerland often drop a dollop of ice cream on the floor. I suppose as long as they all clean up after themselves there’s no harm, but it’s still a waste of ice cream.
In several other countries, people throw buckets of water out of the windows for good fortune. And to think all these years we thought cheese and crackers was a party.
In Denmark people often stand on top of chairs and literally jump into the New Year at the stroke of midnight. And then the elderly ones go to the hospital for knee replacements. Not really, I made that last part up.
We’re going to be ready this year. We will stand on chairs by the river, our pockets bulging with coins and our hands clenching clusters of grapes. At the stroke of 12, we will throw coins, jump off the chairs and stuff our mouths with a dozen grapes.
Then we will trek home carrying suitcases filled with unused dishes, which we will affectionately smash against the doors of close friends and family.
Should we make it home before we have been accosted by our formerly close friends and family, or arrested by the police, we will feast on pancakes, drop ice cream on the floor and heave buckets of water out the window, as well as our old piano.
Out with the old, in with the new!
Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.