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Tradition!  Every region in the U.S.--indeed, every country around the world--has its own New Year's traditions.  Here is a look at the ones I grew up with; I hope that all of you will share yours, too.

I'm at least half Pennsylvania Dutch, and the "lucky" food--the one you must eat for luck during the entire new year--is pork and sauerkraut:

Actually, I make mine more like choucroute garni, but that's niggling: the important thing is plenty of pork products and sauerkraut.  If you don't like sauerkraut very much, some caraway seeds, plenty of sliced onion, and lots of a nice lager beer will make it much tastier.  (Cook it uncovered in the oven, stirring occasionally, until sauerkraut is golden brown, adding liquid as required to keep it from drying out too much, but it shouldn't be soupy.)  The first time I made this for my father, a true PA deutscher, he said he never tasted sauerkraut that good. It was quite the compliment.

And of course, if you're in southeastern or south-central PA, you must watch the Mummers Parade:

The tradition of Philadelphia Mummery started in the late 17th century as a continuation of the Old World customs of ushering in the New Year. Mummery in America is as unique to Philadelphia as Mardi Gras is to New Orleans.  [snip]

The Philadelphia Mummers of today total over 10,000 marchers.  The parade is still held on New Year's Day, with four distinct divisions: Comic, Fancy, Fancy Brigade and String Band. Comic division clubs lampoon modern day local and national political and social themes.

The above clip shows one of the Fancy divisions.  Here's one from the Comic:

And the Strings:

And finally, from the Fancy Brigade:

As The Dog would say, the floor is yours.  What are the New Year's traditions where you live?

Originally posted to Chez Youff on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 02:31 PM PST.

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