Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's superstitions...

annoy me. They always have. Most superstitions annoy me, but I suppose that's another post all together.

Maybe my peeve with the wives and their tales comes from being told that eating black-eyed peas brought fortune in the New Year. I hate black-eyed peas. My thought was that if the fortune to come was anything at all connected to the black-eyed peas, then it was definitely not worth a fortune.

I didn't stand up to my mom about the issue until the New Year's lunch of my freshman year in college. It was a showdown almost UFC like. Mom fixed the traditional fixings--cornbread, ham, black-eyed peas, probably some greens. And I went through, served my plate and purposefully left off the peas. When confronted, I told her that I'd spent the whole first semester making healthy meal choices and that I did not like black-eyed peas, had never liked black-eyed peas and that as an 18 year old believed I could now be in charge of whether I ever ate black-eyed peas again.

In my mind I said it respectfully. Reality may not have intoned it that way because Mom replied that I would spend the day ironing (supposed to be a figure of bad fortune if done on New Year's Day). I told her that was fine. I'd rather have the fortune of my own hands than any brought to me by black-eyed peas.

Ouch. It all stings just thinking about it this many years later.

But the point remains, I greatly dislike the superstitions of New Year's Day.

I want this day's activities to be as purposefully given to God as any other day. That at the end of the year, if fortune occurred, God receives all the glory. That at the end of the year, if fortune disappeared, God still receives all the glory. I agree that this day has the herald of introspection attached to it, and I spend time thinking what will the new year bring, but I pray that it does not bring greater self focus.

Greater mortification of personal sin is a better resolve. Greater loss of pride. Greater affection for God's truth. Greater attention to His law. Those are resolves that need to mark not just this day, but every day. With or without black-eyed peas, I pray that your hearts are turned to His marvelous works and words that transform lives.

Happy New Year!


  1. We never really did the blackeyed peas/collards/cornbread deal growing up. Or, at least not in my recollection. My husband did, however, and I honor his tradition (all the while refusing to eat collards in any form or fashion) not out of superstition but because he likes it. It's how he grew up.

    And to your last paragraph: Amen and amen. I pray the same in my life and heart. Happy New Year, my friend!

  2. Saying amen right along with Lisa. Grace and peace to you throughout this new year.

  3. Do you think the superstition is a Southern thing, Elle? I had never even heard of the greens-cornbread-black-eyed-peas trifecta until two years ago -- which, not so coincidentally, is when I was informed of the tradition by Southern born-or-bred bloggers.

    I know this branches off topic, but I have a theory that the superstitions of the South also make it more receptive to God's Spirit. Up here in the North, we are far too practical to believe something so "silly." So while I certainly don't believe in the superstition (or even follow many traditions; Northerners don't do that either), I can appreciate the different flavor it gives the different regions, especially when it comes to God.

  4. I'm a Northerner and never heard of the Southern thing about ham, cornbread and black-eyed peas either. I did, however, grow up hearing that eating pork on New Year's brought good luck. I'm with you 100% on this superstition thing though, Elle, and rest in the truth that following God and growing in Him is the only path to pursue this day...or any other.

    Happy New Year!

  5. Well said. I have to admit I don't think I know of any New Year's superstitions or have ever heard of one till I read about Black eyed peas...
    And...I've never had black eyed peas that I know of either :0)

  6. We had "Hoppin John" (made by FirstHusband). That would be layered rice, black eyed peas, stewed tomatoes, raw onions topped with . . . HOG JOWL.


    The kids say the hog jowl tastes like bacon. ewwww.

    And yes, FirstHusband grew up in the south. As for me? Fortune, smortune, I just like the meal (sans hog jowl). But I prefer the entire thing topped off with Healthy Choice sausage.

    FirstHusband is teaching FavoriteSon how to make turkey soup today. The last carcass in the house (currently frozen). It's supposed to get COLD here (Florida). In the 30s! Soup weather!