Yesteryear’s Memories: Auld Lang Syne

January 6, 2021

These Scottish words translate into, “Old Long Since.” Every New Year we hear the song, we make resolutions, and we hope for better days. This year is no different. It’s a time to think about what we’ve been through and where we may be going. Southern Illinois, like most of the United States, is made up of immigrants and is a conglomeration of traditions and superstitions that go back through decades if not centuries.

One of the things most of us probably remember is our parents eating certain foods on New Year’s Day — one of the most prevalent is beans and cornbread. It is supposed to assure that we have prosperity and plenty to eat all through the year. The Irish bang bread against the wall for good luck. I guess that makes sense in a weird way — if you have enough bread to smack walls you probably aren’t starving. Another common ‘thang’ as we say is shooting a gun at midnight. Of course, that’s a little less favored in today’s world but nonetheless has been a tradition since colonial times. Ringing a bell is along the same lines, and the old dinner bell on the farm was the favorite and could be heard by all the neighbors.

One tradition that is certainly alive and well is making resolutions. Eating better, maybe losing some of that holiday weight, and cutting down on social media are common. As for me, I just want people to get along. The stress of our world seems to be making people more intolerant and divided. A cup o’ kindness sounds pretty good to me. And a little whiskey in hot tea ain’t bad either.