Posted: 1 January 2009 in joy, the fantastic

I don’t have many rituals.  In fact, when pressed, I can think of only one:  I like to take a candle when I stay in strange hotel rooms alone.  Does that even count?

New Year’s has a pack of rituals (eating greens for wealth and the like) and we’ve engaged in some of them from time to time.  D grew up lighting a bayberry candle on New Year’s.  I think the quote is: “A bayberry candle burned to the socket brings food to the larder and gold to the pocket.”  Each member of her family traditionally placed their candle near a favorite possession or in a favorite room.  All the candles were lit, a wish was made by each, and the person whose candle burned out first would see their wish come true in the new year.  D is known for having fast burning candle luck and until this year, her candle has traditionally beat mine into a waxy pulp.

I’m convinced she puts hers under the vent.

This year was different.  My candle raced from wick to puddle of nothing in just seven hours.  (I never said it was a quick ritual.)  We’ll see if my candle wish comes true this year.  D swears her wishes always do, but as we’ve determined, she probably cheats.

In general, I like to spend New Year’s Day doing things that set the pace for the upcoming months.  I like to cook, eat thoughtfully, enjoy the outside air, and pass the time doing things I enjoy.  I baked a loaf of bread, I made my wife coffee, I sawed some wood for sawhorses, I read, I washed in a steamy shower, I talked to friends and family.  I also cleaned a bit, though the Chinese caution that in cleaning you could sweep your luck away.

My Element Encyclopedia calls for cleaning as a means to protection in the New Years.  In lieu of a voodoo luck spell, I give you this:

1.  Clean the house completely on New Year’s Day, removing every speck of dust.
2.  Carry the sweepings to a crossroads and discard them.
3.  This renders the home immune to bewitchment and malevolent magic during the year to come.

Points for your own rituals.

  1. That’s interesting. When I drove a school bus (back in the Dark Ages), one of the parents greeted me with a bag of sweets and insisted I take one and eat it. He told me that would ensure my new year was sweet. That was the year I was promoted to assistant supervisor, so I guess it worked (if you can consider a promotion sweet).

    Best wishes for the New Year, to you and yours.

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