Last updated: December 29. 2013 12:38PM - 709 Views
Heather Meade Staff Writer

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DARKE COUNTY - New Year’s has become a tradition of epic proportions, ranging from small gatherings among family, to lavish, $100-a-ticket black tie events - and that’s just in Ohio.

According to USA Today, ringing in the new year at Time Square, N.Y. is a tradition that began in 1904 and has evolved from fireworks to the now infamous giant man-made ball that drops from a pole as the seconds count down. Not only do hundreds of thousands gather in Times Square, over 1 billion people around the world watch the ball drop on live television, stated timessquarenyc.org.

Those celebrating at home often gather for parties that include food and drink, games and music; they watch the ball-lowering ceremony together, counting down and ringing in the new year with a kiss, since tradition says that if one doesn’t receive a kiss at midnight, they’ll be alone for the coming year (USA Today).

Following the festivities leading up to the new year, many often make sure to eat special foods on the first day of the year. Some eat black-eyed peas and greens, others make sure to have pork and cabbage, though it often depends on what region of the country they’re from. According to USA Today, Americans who live in the southern states eat Hoppin’ Johnny, a stew made from black-eyed peas that’s meant to ensure economic prosperity for the coming year.

“I put some kraut and a pork loin in the crock pot about 2 p.m. and let it cook on low all day/night. We then sit at home with a few cocktails and watch the ball drop. At midnight the loin is falling apart into the kraut and it’s absolutely amazing!” said one Facebook reader.

According to The Food Timeline, pork and sauerkraut is a German tradition, also served by the Pennsylvania Dutch, because “any Pennsylvania German worth his or her salt knows pork is served on New Year’s Day because it brings good luck,” said food historian William Weaver on foodtimeline.org. Sauerkraut, or “sour cabbage,” is eaten as a way to ensure a “sweet year,” bringing good luck.

Traditions that don’t involve food include calling loved ones at midnight, one woman calls her mother at midnight every year to tell her she loves her; one man calls all eight of his children to wish them a happy new year; another woman “slaves away all day” to ensure her family has a safe, happy new year’s evening together.

Whatever traditions Darke County families continue this holiday season, The Daily Advocate would like to wish everyone a happy and safe new year. Check out the Pinterest board with ideas for New Year’s traditions, recipes and more at www.pinterest.com/dailyadvocate/new-years/.

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