by Matthew Koren | Jan 10, 2023 | Community Conversations
We covered a bit about tradition in our last post, yet there’s more to explore here. Do you ever question your traditions? What you do and why you do it? Do you ever wonder what other people in our human family do? Or theorize around what other possible ways of celebrating our holidays could look like? Well, so do we. We’re curious about it all; the traditions, the superstitions, the rituals and the rites. There’s something enchanting about a unified action that’s stood the test of time. In this blog post, we’ll cover some of the traditions that different folks adhere to. Whether they’re cheering champagne glasses or gobbling grapes, knocking bread on the walls or throwing ceramic dishes on the ground. We’re going to explore some of these traditions to feel into the myriad ways our human family celebrates and honors the shifting calendar year.
There are many ways to celebrate the year coming to an end, and the New Year coming. Some traditions, before the get into the celebrations, focus on the cleansing and purification (wink wink, nudge nudge; if you haven’t read our last blog post, get involved!). These traditions include the Puerto Rican tradition, where you’re meant to cleanse and clean your house to start out the New Year. Cleaning everything is believed to start your year off on a pure, unsullied canvas upon you can paint a brand new, brilliant masterpiece.
Another cleansing tradition emerges from the Irish tradition, where folks are encouraged to knock a loaf of bread throughout the walls of their home. This is, as lore has it, done to ward off evil spirits and keep the home protected for the year to come.
The last ‘cleansing’ tradition we’ll cover is coming from Denmark, and doesn’t necessarily cleanse your space as much as it creates some clean up for you to do, in case your home is already sparkling clean! It’s tradition in Denmark to throw old plates, breaking them on the ground in order to welcome in good luck for you and your loved ones.
Now that we’ve covered some of the cleansing traditions, let’s explore the celebrations that incorporate the foods that bring us all together during the holidays. There are so many traditions around the world that encourage people to gather together with trust and love in their hearts. The common denominator here? Food. We have so many ways of celebrating our human family’s cultures, and the ones that involve food seem to always go over well.
First, we have Japan, where it’s customary to enjoy a bowl of soba noodles on New Year’s Day. Then there are folks in Haiti who share bowls of a pumpkin joumou soup while our friends in France slurp flutes of champagne. We’re not sure why yet, but it seems as if folks in Spain eat 12 grapes as a tradition. In Mexico, homemade tamales make the perfect New Years gift for your friends and neighbors. Down in Brazil, folks fancy a beach day on New Years day while up in Canada, you’re likely to find many people out on the ice going ice fishing. In case you’re looking for a tradition to really boost your luck in the upcoming year, be like the Greek and hang an onion on the outside of your door and take notice when it sprouts!
So there you have a few traditions from around the world, spanning from cleansing and cleaning traditions and superstitions, to different food traditions. Of course we didn’t cover everyone’s traditions, so if you have one to add to the mix, please include them in the comments below! Enjoy the New Year, however you observe it’s dawning, and blessings to you and all your loved ones, friends.
by Matthew Koren | Dec 15, 2022 | Community Conversations
It has been said, in many traditions, that the way you begin each new year will set the tone for the year ahead. Every country honors this calendrical change differently. Some folks celebrate with soul food and champagne, while others may focus on avoiding bad luck or tending their livestock.
In the US, we find ourselves living in a culture that focuses more on the celebration than the cleansing, don’t we? It’s important to know that each has their important role within the New Year experience. Of course, ringing in the New Year* with celebratory optimism and good cheer is a big win. Equally victorious, however, is the under-emphasized cleansing and clearing of our spaces.
There are some cultures that hold superstitions that cleaning on New Year’s Day will bring misfortune in the year ahead. Whether or not you’re superstitious, why not clean now, in December? It will surely feel better to celebrate with clean energy.
In this blog post, we’re going to cover some basics when it comes to ritualistic cleansing and purification for the end of the year. Our hope is that you read this and feel empowered to purify your space (and your Self, in the process), in order to enter into 2023 with optimal good fortune.
As Outside, so Inside…
When it comes to the clearing and cleansing, there’s a dance of reciprocity to acknowledge. We first decide, internally, that we’d like to cleanse ourselves and start the year with energy anew. Next, we go through a process of cleansing our outer world.
This could look like removing any clutter from our home and office and sweeping the floors (always moving towards, & eventually out your door, energetically). After clearing the space of physical objects that aren’t necessary or are holding denser energies that aren’t aiding in your development and evolution, we can then move into the subtle realms.
Smudging your home and office is an essential aspect of purification. White sage is a wonderful plant ally for this work; burning the sage and focusing your intention on clearing your space of any negative energy, you can move around your space, allowing the smoke to purify every corner, nook and cranny.
Burning and Bathing
Now that the physical space has been cleared, the non-physical can be cleansed as well. Clearing the skies of our hearts and minds is an integral component of our spiritual evolution.
Perhaps you experienced some hardship this last year. Perhaps there’s some lingering feelings that are weighing you down. This is the perfect time for a cleansing in all realms! So write it down; any phrases that include words like ‘ought’, ‘should’, ‘have to’ or ‘must’…draft them and prepare your fire. Wherever you can create a safe place to have a fire, create it with intention. Offer any burnable items that you found in your cleansing process, and allow for the transmutation to take shape.
After holding space for a transformational fire, one can then move into relationship with water. If you have access to a natural body of water, like a lake, river or the ocean, that is wonderful. If not, a shower or bath can work wonders, as well. The key aspect here is setting the intention to be cleansed, asking for support for this cleansing for the Highest Good, and entering with a willfulness to be changed.
There you have it, a simple guide to working with the elements to cleanse in preparation for the New Year. May this serve you, and those around you!
*Where does this phrase even come from, you may ask? In 1850, Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote “Ring Out, Wild Bells”; a poem that emphasized the importance of honoring beginning and endings with the sounding of bells. Share with your friends and loved ones this holiday season; who doesn’t love a poetry reading!?
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.