The New Year's Day Superstition That Southerners Believe Brings Extra Good Luck
The sentiment behind New Year's traditions like stuffing ourselves with collard greens, black-eyed peas, and cornbread for all the good luck, fortune, health, and bounty we can muster might be rooted in superstition, but Southerners aren't ones to gamble for no reason. Superstitions aside, fixing up a plate of Hoppin' John and potlikker soup with a fat slice of skillet cornbread makes the start of a New Year a whole lot better in our minds.
However, New Year's traditions can go beyond food, too. For obvious reasons, these don't get near as much attention. (No ham hock and all.) One such forgotten superstition? The first visitor. Spanning back centuries in British lore before being practiced throughout the South, the first visitor to cross your threshold and enter your home can be a bringer of good fortune to come. That's why it is said to be important to watch out for whoever becomes your first visitor—sometimes referred to as the "first footer"—on New Year's Day. According to superstition, it tells which way your fortune might go in the next 12 months.
So, what might be an ideal first visitor on New Year's Day, you might ask? Most lore says a tall, dark, handsome stranger bearing a gift, food, or drink. (For the record, Mama agrees.) It can also be a good idea to bank on having a loved one over for an early New Year's Day chat to ensure good luck and health to follow.
With this year's holiday circumstances in mind, we'd garner to say that superstition would accept an offering on the doorstep in lieu of a house visit, if necessary. (Or mask up!) Like we said, Southerners don't like to gamble.
We're planning to ring in a New Year with all the assurances we can get, from black-eyed peas to a cheery first footer.