Happy New Year in the Ozarks!

Growing up in the Ozarks, where old traditions tend to live on, I knew many people who cooked up a pot of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck.

You probably did, too. Most folks probably didn’t really believe eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s actually brought good luck the rest of the year, and did it for tradition’s sake, but I do know one person who took it more seriously than others.

A friend’s father wasn’t really a believer, per se, but he insisted on black-eyed peas because, well, what could it hurt?

If you want to take it a step further, put a dime under your bowl of black-eyed peas and wear a pair of red garters and you’re more than ensured of good luck the rest of the year. That’s out of Vance Randolph’s “Ozark Superstitions,” published in 1947 and based on several decades worth of compiled notes taken from interviews and observations.

I reference it a lot because Randolph is my favorite Ozark folklorist.

More Ozark New Year’s superstitions collected by Randolph include the following:

• Always open your windows a few minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve to let the bad luck out and the good luck in.

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