For many, January 1 offers an opportunity to forget the past and make a clean start. But instead of leaving everything up to fate, why not enjoy a meal to increase your good fortune? There are a variety of foods that are believed to be lucky and to improve the odds that next year will be a great one. Traditions vary from culture to culture, but there are striking similarities in what’s consumed in different pockets of the world: The six major categories of auspicious foods are grapes, greens, fish, pork, legumes, and cakes.
New Year’s revelers in Spain consume twelve grapes at midnight—one grape for each stroke of the clock. This dates back to 1909, when grape growers in the Alicante region of Spain initiated the practice to take care of a grape surplus. The idea stuck, spreading to Portugal as well as former Spanish and Portuguese colonies such as Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru. Each grape represents a different month, so if for instance the third grape is a bit sour, March might be a rocky month. For most, the goal is to swallow all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight, but Peruvians insist on taking in a 13th grape for good measure.
Cooked greens, including cabbage, collards, kale, and chard, are consumed at New Year’s in different countries for a simple reason — their green leaves look like folded money, and are thus symbolic of economic fortune. The Danish eat stewed kale sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, the Germans consume sauerkraut (cabbage) while in the southern United States, collards are the green of choice. It’s widely believed that the more greens one eats the larger one’s fortune next year.
Legumes including beans, peas, and lentils are also symbolic of money. Their small, seedlike appearance resembles coins that swell when cooked so they are consumed with financial rewards in mind. In Italy, it’s customary to eat cotechino con lenticchie or sausages and green lentils, just after midnight—a particularly propitious meal because pork has its own lucky associations. Germans also partner legumes and pork, usually lentil or split pea soup with sausage. In Brazil, the first meal of the New Year is usually lentil soup or lentils and rice, and in Japan, the osechi-ryori, a group of symbolic dishes eaten during the first three days of the new year, includes sweet black beans called kuro-mame.
In the Southern United States, it’s traditional to eat black-eyed peas or cowpeas in a dish called hoppin’ john. There are even those who believe in eating one pea for every day in the new year. This all traces back to the legend that during the Civil War, the town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, ran out of food while under attack. The residents fortunately discovered black-eyed peas and the legume was thereafter considered lucky.
The custom of eating pork on New Year’s is based on the idea that pigs symbolize progress. The animal pushes forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving. Roast suckling pig is served for New Year’s in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and Austria—Austrians are also known to decorate the table with miniature pigs made of marzipan. Different pork dishes such as pig’s feet are enjoyed in Sweden while Germans feast on roast pork and sausages. Pork is also consumed in Italy and the United States, where thanks to its rich fat content, it signifies wealth and prosperity.
Fish is a very logical choice for the New Year’s table. According to Mark Kurlansky, author of Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, cod has been a popular feast food since the Middle Ages. He compares it to turkey on Thanksgiving. The reason? Long before refrigeration and modern transportation, cod could be preserved and transported allowing it to reach the Mediterranean and even as far as North Africa and the Caribbean. Kurlansky also believes the Catholic Church’s policy against red meat consumption on religious holidays helped make cod, as well as other fish, commonplace at feasts. The Danish eat boiled cod, while in Italy, baccalà, or dried salt cod, is enjoyed from Christmas through New Year’s. Herring, another frequently preserved fish, is consumed at midnight in Poland and Germany—Germans also enjoy carp and have been known to place a few fish scales in their wallets for good luck. The Swedish New Year feast is usually a smorgasbord with a variety of fish dishes such as seafood salad. In Japan, herring roe is consumed for fertility, shrimp for long life, and dried sardines for a good harvest (sardines were once used to fertilize rice fields).
Cakes and other baked goods are commonly served from Christmas to New Year’s around the world, with a special emphasis placed on round or ring-shaped items. Italy has chiacchiere, which are honey-drenched balls of pasta dough fried and dusted with powdered sugar. Poland, Hungary, and the Netherlands also eat donuts, and Holland has ollie bollen, puffy, donut-like pastries filled with apples, raisins, and currants.
In certain cultures, it’s customary to hide a special trinket or coin inside the cake—the recipient will be lucky in the new year. Mexico’s rosca de reyes is a ring-shaped cake decorated with candied fruit and baked with one or more surprises inside. In Greece, a special round cake called vasilopita is baked with a coin hidden inside. At midnight or after the New Year’s Day meal, the cake is cut, with the first piece going to St. Basil and the rest being distributed to guests in order of age. Sweden and Norway have similar rituals in which they hide a whole almond in rice pudding—whoever gets the nut is guaranteed great fortune in the new year.
Cakes aren’t always round. In Scotland, where New Year’s is called Hogmanay, there is a tradition called “first footing,” in which the first person to enter a home after the new year determines what kind of year the residents will have. The “first footer” often brings symbolic gifts like coal to keep the house warm or baked goods such as shortbread, oat cakes, and a fruit caked called black bun, to make sure the household always has food.
What Not to Eat
In addition to the aforementioned lucky foods, there are also a few to avoid. Lobster, for instance, is a bad idea because they move backwards and could therefore lead to setbacks. Chicken is also discouraged because the bird scratches backwards, which could cause regret or dwelling on the past. Another theory warns against eating any winged fowl because good luck could fly away.
Now that you know what to eat, there’s one more superstition—that is, guideline—to keep in mind. In Germany, it’s customary to leave a little bit of each food on your plate past midnight to guarantee a stocked pantry in the New Year. Likewise in the Philippines, it’s important to have food on the table at midnight. The conclusion? Eat as much lucky food as you can, just don’t get too greedy—or the first place you’ll be going in the new year is the gym.
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Complete your Halloween decorations with these fun and totally free printables. Use them to prepare scary treats for the kids, decorate your home and organize a super spooky party. Print them on self-adhesive paper and get into the scary mood. Kids will love them!!
Feel free to share this link with others who would love these printables. Comment and let us know how you used your printables
CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLES!
You might have a little spare time this summer and if you do you should consider teaching your kids some awesome crafts. You may not realize this, but participating in crafts can be absolutely fantastic for child development. Let’s look at some of the advantages and the way crafts help kids as well as some of the possible activities that you could try and teach them.
Following The Leader
It’s fair to say that when you’re playing with crafts, you need to follow the instructions or the advice as it’s laid out. If you don’t do this, the end result is just going to be one big mess. That’s particularly true with paper crafts. One wrong cut and instead of a cool cut out of spiders to hang on the wall for Halloween you have weird deformed creatures. Still cool for decoration but not quite as stylish. Kids will learn fast with crafts that sometimes following the rules and the guidelines laid out really is the best option.
Just Have A little Patience
You might want to try teaching your kids some sewing. If you do this, you’ll have two options. You can either go manual with a needle and thread or be a tad more exciting with a sewing machine. The impulse for kids here will be to race along with the sewing machine, getting the line down as quickly as possible. They will soon learn that this isn’t the best way to achieve a fantastic result and instead they have to be patient. If you’re buying a sewing machine for your home for crafts, you have a variety of options. Here’s why the Brother PE770 is one of the best embroidery sewing machines on the market. It operates a range of different speeds, and that makes it perfect for something like teaching kids or sewing products for your home business. It presents buyers with the best of both worlds.
If you let your mind wander when you’re completing a craft it’s not going to turn out as you want it to. As such, crafts with kids can help them boost their levels of concentration. They’ll learn that if they want a great outcome they have to be careful and that’s going to be a lesson that will be beneficial multiple times in life. At first, kids might need a few little nudges to stay focused. Particularly, with crafts that take a while such as painting.
You might wonder when you should start trying to get kids into crafts and the answer is as early as possible. Early tweens would be a great time because crafts like this help kids develop fine motor skills. As such, they will be able to handle more delicate tasks and improve cognitive skill too. Don’t forget, that crafts often involve problem-solving, figuring out how to get around an issue or correct a mistake that you made. It’s just one more skill that could be great for your child’s social development.
Tips to Reduce Waste at Children’s Parties
Between the invitations, wrapping paper, uneaten food, and disposable decorations, children’s parties can produce a large bundle of waste. While a good deal of this can be recycled, here are a few additional ideas to reduce the volume of waste at your child’s next birthday party.
To begin with, avoid the usual paper invitations. You might recycle them, but you don’t know that your guests are doing the same. Evites are just as effective, and you can personalize them any way you want! You can even create your own video invitation that can be shared and stored for future posterity. Instead of using traditional wrapping paper, encourage your little one’s guests to use sheets of newspaper or old magazines instead. If your child’s likeminded, you could even forego the traditional toys altogether, instead opting for experiential gifts or donations to non-profits.
Create reusable decorations.
What comes to mind when you think of traditional birthday party decorations? Chances are, it involves streamers, balloons, and banners that all end up in the trash at the end of the party. This year, try crafting reusable decorations that you can store and bring out for other occasions. Make a banner out of fabric that can be passed on to other family members, try decorating with DIY puff paint, or use twinkly lights that can be reused over the holiday season.
Choose a DIY-friendly theme.
Theme parties are always popular. If your child’s dead-set on a Superman or Star Wars party, you don’t have to necessarily go out and buy all of the branded paper items on sale at your local party store. Instead, you could get creative with the theme and use it as a basis for crafts and activities. Create your own dress-up photo booth, where you can let little ones make their own costumes and dress up in silly poses. Look up themed games to play rather than themed decorations. If you’re ever stuck for ideas, just check Pinterest. You’ll be bound to find something that fits!
Avoid disposable plates and cutlery.
Ditch the plastic plates and use real ones instead. If you’re running low, head to the nearest thrift store to get a full set for pennies. These can be saved or donated after use. Serve drinks in pretty jars, which is both on-trend and eco-friendly. Even small children can usually handle real plates and cups, and it makes them feel more grown-up to be given the chance to do so.
Get creative with party favours.
Instead of giving out a plastic bag filled with plastic toys that won’t last more than a day, think of other parting gifts you could give away. One idea if you’ve had a party that involves arts and crafts is that the guests get to leave with their creations. Whether it’s funny costumes from the photo booth or papier-mache masks, they might get greater use out of this type of favour! A book, art supplies, or even just a slice of birthday cake can also stand in for traditional party bags.
This post was created in collaboration with Funidelia
The Disney Lyrics : When you’re a parent, tasks which once upon a time were simple become increasingly difficult to do. It’s not because you’re any slower in yourself, or because you’ve forgotten how to do them – although we may think to ourselves that this is the case – but more often than not, it’s because you have a distraction in the form of a small human being constantly needing attention.
When you are putting time into cleaning and tidying, they rarely want to leave you alone and undo all of your hard work. So what can be done to help alleviate their boredom?
In Every Job that Must be Done There Is an Element of Fun
You find that fun and *snap*, the job’s a game. Mary Poppins speaks both sense and the truth – there is always fun to be found in whatever task you have set before you. If you are cleaning, invite them to race against you to see how fast you can get the job done. It can be something as simple as wetting down a window which is to be squeegeed, or brushing up bits into a dustpan. They’ll be tiring themselves out whilst they’re doing it and learning some valuable life lessons as they go – you can’t lose.
Look for the Bare Necessities
Are they bugging you for a reason? Do they need the toilet, are they hungry or thirsty? Or are they just bored? Follow Baloo the Bear’s advice and sort out your kid’s basic needs before setting yourself to task. It may be that they just want a cuddle or some reassurance before you get started, so set some time aside to make sure everything is A-OK with them before putting your mind to other things.
It means no worries – so take their mind off what you’re doing and distract them with fun and games. If they’re happy sitting down with their gadgets, head on over to https://getshowboxapp.com and see what films and shows are available to keep them entertained. Or you could keep it classic and crack out some board games – these are guaranteed to keep them busy for hours while you finish the tidying up. If you are clearing, try and steer away from anything that will add to the mess; avoid suggesting arts and crafts, for example, as this will just take more time to tidy up at the end and you will need to rely on other methods to keep them happy while you’re clearing yet again.
The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway
If you’re busy inside and have a secure garden, send the children out! Fresh air never did anyone any harm, and gloves, hats, scarves and coats were invented for a reason. There is so much to be explored outside and so much imagination for the little ones to use. Why let it go to waste? Kill two birds with one stone; while they’re outside having fun, get your jobs done as quickly as you can!
This is a collaborative post with Yourorganicchild.com
‘Tis the season to make things! When it comes to Christmas, there is a lot of temptation to buy everything new and shiny. But before you think about investing in a brand new Christmas tree, or buying a whole new collection of Christmas cards, save on the pennies and save the planet by creating a few of these!
Cardboard Christmas Tree
Yes, it may sound like something that could look incredibly tacky, but check this out! Here is how you make your own homemade Christmas tree.
You will need:
- Large pieces of cardboard.
- A rule.
- Glue or paperclips.
- As much decoration as you want for the tree.
- Using some large pieces of cardboard, draw a big isosceles triangle and divide them up into 25cm sections.
- Mark zig-zags by marking 5cm to the left and right on the big triangle on the line where it meets the divisions.
- After you have cut both sections out, on one of them, cut a slot nearly as wide as the thickness of your cardboard, right from the top to the middle. On the other cut from the middle to the bottom. You can slot them together, and they will stand on their own. If you find you need to put a bit more into keeping them slotted together, use some glue sticks or paperclips to give a bit more support.
- If you want to make extra levels to your tree, follow the previous steps and slot them together.
A tree isn’t complete without ornaments, and this is a very sparkly addition to your tree!
You will need:
- A styrofoam ball.
- A straight pin.
- A paperclip.
- Get the multicolored sequins and styrofoam ball and using a straight pin, push it through the middle of each sequin into the styrofoam ball.
- Repeat until you have a sparkly looking decoration!
- Using a paperclip, you can attach it to one of the sequins and hang it from your Christmas tree.
The traditional Christmas wreath, but with a more rustic and earthy feel, and best of all, it’s practically cost free!
You need the following:
- Pony beads (about 50).
- A wire hanger.
- White spray paint.
- Lots and lots of pinecones.
- Using glue, stick some pony beads to the top of each pinecone.
- Using the wire hanger stretched out into a circle, thread the pinecones through, arranging them as you see fit. Make sure that they are touching each other completely.
- Once you have finished threading the pinecones through, spray with a can of white or sparkling spray paint.
- Decorate with a bow at the top, and use the hook of the wire hanger to hang in your favorite place!
As you can see, Christmas doesn’t need to be a taxing and expensive affair. If you can get the family to sit together, making this will be a fantastic set of tasks to do together. And this is just the tip of the snowflake, there are so many other wonderful items you can make this Christmas. Go wild, and Merry Christmas!