A double dose of luck for 2012

This year for New Year’s Day, I was thankful for a few friends at Yokota to eat peas with me.  For those uninitiated with southern cuisine/traditions, each part of the New Year’s Day meal stands for something:

black eyed peas: stands for good luck.  why peas? Soak them and they swell.  Like good luck swells?  Something like that.

Pork: stands for health.  Why pork?  Because pigs move forward, unlike their other barnyard counterparts.  Chickens walk backwards and cows graze from side to side, but only pigs eat while moving forward. 

Greens + cabbage: stands for money.  why?  ’cause it’s green.

The past few years, I’ve added cheese grits to this meal, simply because it tastes so good with it all, and I’ve decided it stands for lovin‘.  And this year, I made Irish car bomb cupcakes in Trav’s absence, which I believe stands for good times. 

On January 2nd, I was introduced to a Japanese New Year’s tradition at the Daruma Festival, which bears some similarities to Southern American superstition.   The token of good luck isn’t on your plate, but rather in the form of a paper mache armless, legless, and eyeless doll modeled after the founder of Zen Buddhism.  The way it works: you buy a Daruma doll at your local temple, then make a wish (or goal) for the year while coloring in one of the eyes.  When your wish comes true, you color in the other eye, then bring the doll back to the temple at the beginning of the next year to be thrown into the fire (whether or not the wish came true). 

last year's Daruma dolls on deck for the fire
Yokota friends with their 2011 dolls for the fire

Most of the dolls look the same, though they vary in size.  While most of them are red, there are different colors which stand for different kinds of wishes: (http://www.wikihow.com/Use-a-Daruma-Good-Luck-Doll)

  • Black:chasing away evil and a successfull year
  • Blue: personal achievement and success
  • Gold: wealth
  • Green:good health and vitality
  • Orange: succes in school
  • Pink:blessing in love, marriage and giving birth
  • Purple:advancement in career
  • Red:safety and success in every way
  • White:new birth and best wishes
  • Yellow:security and protection

I got a blue one for myself and wished to finish my book in 2012, and a gold one for Travis for his stock market ventures (no pressure Travis, but you weren’t there to decide and I thought the gold ones were pretty 🙂 )

The temple in Ome
they start them young on goal-setting
a boiling pot of monsters
Aside from the doll burning, we were entertained by the interesting food options, including Japanese style meat-stuffed crepes (I’ve forgotten the proper name), candied strawberries and miniature apples, and a funny favorite- chocolate colored bananas with cute koala bear charms:
The newlywed Arkansans: Apparently Little Rock is a great place for AF pilots to pick up wives
 So now that I’ve had time to take my dolls home, color in their pupils, and stare at them on my living room shelf, I totally get it.  The magic and power of the Daruma doll has little to do with a talisman spell, witchery, or superstition.  It’s the power of having that cock-eyed little bastard glaring at you everyday that becomes a hefty reminder to accomplish what you vowed to do when you bought the thing.  I think it’s time to work on my book.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Mechele says:

    Love this!! ESP about LR being a great place to pick up a wife.. Haha..no but the rest was great to read about. Thats a cute & Interesting tradition.

  2. Stephanie Caruthers says:

    My dear, you need no luck to finish your book! You just need to do it. And, quick! Because the world needs to read it. You’re a natural. ~love you!

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