January 2012

NYE Traditions Examined: Fortune-filled foods to kick off any New Year

You've heard of the kiss at midnight on New Year's Eve, but have you heard of eating grapes as the clock strikes 12?

Blame the Spaniards for coming up with this interesting tradition expected to bring a month of luck for every grape eaten as the New Year saunters in. I'm always scouring the internet for fresh ways to mark the a new year. Recently, I read an article about a practice in the Latino culture called "The 12 Grapes of Luck."  At midnight, as the clock chimes 12 times, people wanting to bless the incoming new year with fortune, gobble a grape with every chime, finishing off a dozen as the new year rolls in.

This reminds me of my grandmother's obsession about serving black-eyed peas every Jan. 1, allegedly to bring us luck. This is a Southern tradition mostly; my other friends don't usually know about this ritual. Since every year that we had the peas was still filled with a mix of bad and good, life and death, I'm not sure this worked at all. Still cultural traditions at the start of a year are something I cherish.

The Chinese New Year is Here!

One can ever have too many celebrations to herald the start of a brand-new year, so why not observe this weekend's celebrations for the Chinese New Year, which officially begins Monday.  Exploring ethnic New Year's festivities is a great way to immerse yourself in a new culture and make new friends.

College campuses, Chinese community associations, and businesses are places to look for calendars of local events. Events typically offer an array of Chinese cuisine, including  potstickers (Chinese dumplings), stir-fry dishes and shrimp-stuffed spring rolls.

Easy New Year’s Resolution: Unsubscribe!

Kick all of those unread newsletters to the curb.

Is it bad that I have been relishing my new quest to unsubscribe from as many unwanted newsletters as possible with a certain devilish glee? It’s not as if I have malice in my heart as I do this; I simply want to make my life, well, simpler! If I’m not reading them anyway, and they’re getting bounced emails or unopened rates due to my indifference, why continue subscribing? Really, there is no guilt to feel here.

My method so far has been to unsubscribe to anything that only asks for money, rarely gives an action item to follow through, or anything that’s selling me something I don’t want. I think the only “goods” newsletter I kept was Uncommon Goods, and could you blame me for that? I have found that many newsletters and political lists are the ones getting chopped the most, since A. I can look up most of this news on my own, and B. the political lists give you 5% news and take-action opportunities and 95% donation requests.