How did your family celebrate New Year's when you were growing up? Was staying up on New Year's Eve a big deal? Was it a date night for your parents or was it a family occasion? Did your family have any particular traditions for New Year's? Were resolutions emphasized? Did you do fireworks? Watch parades or bowl games? Were there church activities you attended? Did Christmas activities extend into the new year? Was the Epiphany a focus?
My folks generally didn't do much for New Year's Eve. I always wanted to stay up late, and I may have gotten to stay up a couple of times (but only if I took a nap in the afternoon beforehand!). When I was in high school, our church had what was called a Watch Night Fellowship and Prayer Time that was always lots of fun. Everyone would show up about 6:00 or 7:00 on the 31st and there would be games and snacks. At 11:30 or 11:45, we all went to the chapel and sang a few songs and prayed the new year in. I always enjoyed that - it made New Year's Eve fun without having to deal with crowds and alcohol. I haven't heard of a church doing anything like that in 25 years!
Firecrackers were illegal in the Houston city limits, but that didn't stop some people, and I always dreaded going to bed on New Year's Eve because I knew there would be so many! I was scared of the noise and the fact that they were illegal made me more nervous, even though our family never did them.
During my childhood, New Year's Day was always predictable. I never missed the Rose Bowl Parade; the elaborate flower-covered floats still fascinate me. After that the bowl games were on, and since those were the days of the Southwest Conference, the Cotton Bowl was a priority, especially if UT was playing! On New Year's night, I loved watching the half-time of the Orange Bowl. They always had the best shows. I don't think they are near as cool now with all the computerized lighting and special effects; those old ones were the best! While we watched the parade and games, the Christmas decorations were taken down and the tree put out for the trash. We took off every one of those icicles that we had put on one at a time, and my dad carefully wrapped them in wax paper and put them in their box to use the next year. It always amazed me to drive by other houses and see icicles still on the discarded trees!
I always dreaded meals on New Year's Day. Although he wasn't superstitious, my dad always made sure my mom fixed black-eyed peas and cornbread, the traditional Southern "good luck in the new year" meal. I hated both of those. I haven't fixed black-eyed peas on New Year's since I've been an adult!
I don't know if it was churches in general or just the Southern Baptist ones, but there was never an emphasis or even acknowledgement of the Epiphany on January 6 when I was a child. I had never heard of it until I was grown. The wise men were just lumped in with Christmas.
What about you? Share your New Year's Eve/Day memories and link up here!
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