As I finished eating our New Year's feast leftovers, I thought it might be nice to post about some of the magical things about our New Year's Day.
Let's talk about food. If you're from the South, you know that you are supposed to eat black-eyed peas for luck, and greens for money in the coming year. We did both at our house, using spinach as our 'green,' since it is strongly associated with prosperity. We also followed the tradition from my family of having rice and cornbread with the meal. Rice is a prosperity grain which, in addition, confers protection and fertility. Cornbread (another Southern dish), made from cornmeal, is protective as well, and it connects us to the Mother Goddess ensuring spiritual growth.
Foods will always naturally carry their own special brand of magical energy, but this can be greatly enhanced by your intent. If you choose foods based on their qualities, be sure to 'charge' the foods before and during cooking, and then bless the food again before consumption. Charging simply consists of raising energy within yourself while focusing on the appropriate intention, and then directing it through your dominant hand (or from your hand through another item, if you prefer) into the desired object, in this case your food.
As far as non-food magic goes, the first day of the year is supposed to be representative of the year to come. With that in mind, it is best to have a clean house, a full pantry, and most importantly, lots of fun!
We had some discussion at our house about when we should actually be celebrating the New Year. It seems that you can find a different 'right' time to do it with every tradition investigated. It could be Yule or Samhain, or possibly Ostara. New Years based on lunar calendars change every year (from a Western perspective). So, then, what is right? I feel like it is appropriate to celebrate the New Year based on whatever tradition you are following, but it is also appropriate to celebrate the calendar New Year. We are subject to the energies around us whether we participate in them or not, so why not join in the festivities? As long as in your tradition there is not a 'ban' on such willy-nilly joining in, it seems to me that by participating, we can enjoy the free flow of happiness and joyful energy that surrounds us during celebrations such as these. The more the merrier!