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New Year's Celebrations
The celebration of the New Year is the oldest of all holidays. The Babylonians were the first to celebrate the beginning of the year around 2000BC. Over the years the welcoming of the New Year has taken many forms. For all, the ringing in of the New Year offers a chance to gather with family and friends and enter the New Year with hopes of luck, wealth and success.

Traditionally, it is thought that one can effect the outcome of the year to come by what they do or eat on the first day of the year. Typical activities for New Year's Day are parties, parades, hours of football games and overindulging.

An old Southern saying,"Eat poor on New Year's, eat fat the rest of the year" influences the holiday dinner table. The traditional Southern New Year's meal includes ham, corn bread, black-eyed peas and collard greens. Both black-eyed peas and collard greens are considered especially lucky additions to the table and increase the chances for year- long wealth.

It's not just the United States that have symbolic food associations and put faith in the outcome of the year depending on their New Year Day activities.

The Japanese culture celebrates the New Year holiday with fine foods and food offerings to the Buddhist Temple. Long soba noodles are eaten without breaking to ensure long life. Also, omochi cakes are first offered to the gods, then cut into pieces and eaten by the family to bring luck and good health.

At the turn of the century, Spain experienced a gigantic grape harvest. Every year since, the Spanish have brought in the New Year by eating 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight. At each strike of the clock, another grape is eaten in celebration of lucky years past, and in hope of a lucky year to come.

If you don't have a traditional New Year meal, perhaps this year will be the one to start your own family tradition.

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