By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: A New Year needs some new traditions

It’s New Year’s Eve.

At midnight, a national sigh of relief will combine “good riddance” to 2020 with hopeful anticipation for a far better 2021. As New Year’s resolutions proliferate, however, don’t forget traditions.

We’ve shared a 2020 worldwide war against a common enemy that reportedly has inflicted 82-plus million people and killed more than 1.8 million. The COVID-19 virus has shattered personal, family, social and cultural customs in ways unimaginable when 2020 broke ground on a new decade.


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

> See his column

What better time to consider New Year’s traditions? What better time to look around the globe at ways people of all races and creeds usher in the New Year, and consider adopting some new traditions of our own.

Perhaps we can find ways to combine traditions and resolutions into a mixture of optimism and resolve.

Marilyn Worrix, someone known locally for practicing that very mixture, decided this year to follow a tradition from Greece. It involves midnight service of a bread or cake called Vasilopita, with prediction of good luck for whoever finds a coin hidden in the dough before baking.

Those who know Marilyn will not be surprised that one thought led to another, so naturally she soon compiled about 2,000 words of “Interesting New Year’s Traditions” from 23 countries around the world.

From the United States to Armenia, from Japan to Brazil, it’s a reminder that our human race, for all its diversity, has much in common.

One of those traditions brought back childhood images of black-eyed peas served at New Year’s Day celebrations while visiting family in Texas. Most of the list was new to me, such as not eating lobsters before midnight because they move backwards and could set you up for a year of setbacks.

The compilation is too long for this small space, but Marilyn agreed I could share it with any who might be interested. If you send an email to the address below, I’ll respond right away with a copy of Marilyn’s “Interesting New Year’s Traditions” from around the world.

After all, what else would I have to do on a New Year’s Eve in the year of COVID-19?

By the way, I found that coin, carefully wrapped in foil, in the Vasilopita. However, we didn’t wait until midnight to dive into that sweet loaf of Greek bread, so just in case, I’m adding the Spanish tradition of eating exactly 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight.

Happy New Year.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


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