No Time Like The Present

Growing up in Tennessee, my mom fixed black eyed peas and cabbage every New Year’s Day—a custom I though strange since we never ate black eyed peas otherwise, and because I loathed both of them. (I do love them now.) I understand that this isn’t particular to Tennessee, but is it an American tradition or just a Southern one? Maybe someone can fill me in.

Here are some other New Year’s customs I found online. Take them with a grain of salt, since they came from the internet. I did verify each one on more than one website, but still…
• In Spain it is customary to eat one grape for each chime of the clock at Midnight—a tradition that supposedly began when there was a surplus of grapes and the king gave them as New Year’s presents. It apparently also results in a lot of people laughing at each other with mouths full of grapes.
• In Taiwan employees present their workers with a meal that includes a whole cooked chicken. Everyone gets gifts, but if the chicken’s head is facing you during the meal, it is a sign that you will likely lose your job in the next year.
• In Ecuador and Colombia, families burn a stuffed male doll representing the old year. Each family makes their own doll for burning. They sometimes place fireworks inside it to add excitement. They also burn objects that represent the bad memories from the old year.
• In Korea, it is customary to go to the beach and watch the sunrise on New Year’s Day.
• In Brazil, people jump seven waves and throw flowers into the sea.
• In Mexico, people wear red underwear as a symbol of their desire to find love in the New Year. Others wear yellow underwear in the hopes that it will bring money.
• For Songkran, the Thai New Year (not the same date as ours), people drench passersby with water from buckets, garden hoses or water guns.

I hope you see in this New Year a chance to hit the reset button on some things. But I’d also like to point out that God does not restrict our opportunities for renewal to January 1. I would suppose that you know that already, but I can use a reminder of that fact from time to time. As we gather this Sunday morning, let’s take advantage of God’s never-ending mercies.

Robert Lee