ELKINS - What do pork, a carp scale and beans have in common? They are all part of New Year's traditions - and, in some cases, superstitions - shared by Inter-Mountain readers.
Luisa "Coco" Hori, a former Elkins resident who now lives in Huatulco, Mexico, said for Latinos, there is nothing that says "so long and good riddance" to the current year like her New Year's Eve rituals guaranteed to attract love, money and health as the clock strikes midnight.
"Single folks who want to find their true love should sit down and stand up from a chair three times at midnight," Hori said. "Place 12 grapes in your glass, and at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, eat one of the grapes with each chime on the clock, and make a wish for the new year as you eat the last grape."
Hori said those who love traveling will want to take their suitcases out into the street at midnight.
"If you want to travel abroad in the new year, place a passport in your suitcase and run to the street and back into your home. If the beach is where you want to be, do the same wearing your bathing suit, and if you want to travel where there is snow, put on your coat and scarf as you run into the street and back."
Another Latino custom for New Year's is eating lentils or beans.
"Eating these will bring you prosperity and will provide food for your table in the new year," Hori said. "Two other ways to bring prosperity are having money in your hand at midnight and placing a gold ring in your toast cup for the stroke of midnight."
Hori recommends lighting candles for the new year.
"If you light candles of various colors this will grant different things," she said. "A green candle is to ask for health, yellow will bring wealth, blue symbolizes peace, orange gives you intelligence and red will incite passion for the rest of the year."
A hug and kiss at midnight represents the love and companionship of a couple.
"So hug and kiss your partner to make sure the year will be full of romance, and remember, wearing red underwear or a red ribbon will attract love and passion for the new year."
Hori also recommends water to rid your life of tears, sorrows and negativity.
"By throwing a glass of water from the house into the street, these will disappear from your new year," Hori said. "Also, take a broom and sweep from your front door to the street to get rid of negative energy. Dress all in white for the new year. This wards off illness and brings good health."
In England, good luck is derived from another ritual. Winifred Addis, of Liverpool, and Donna Hewitt, of Warrington, shared their New Year's Eve tradition.
"The youngest, dark-haired male goes out the back door," Addis said. "He carries a small piece of coal, money, bread and salt. These are the symbols of wealth, and ensures good luck to all in the home. He enters in the front door, symbolizing 'out with the old and in with the new.'"
Maggi Rhudy, of Elkins, said her New Year's Eve traditions come from her birthplace in Germany.
"We eat carp on New Year's Eve and keep a scale of the carp in our wallet," Rhudy said. "That way, you'll never run out of money the coming year."
Sue Gutierrez, of Chico, Ca., always kisses her loved ones at midnight.
"I also call my children at midnight, watch the ball drop on Times Square, toast with champagne, open the door and windows at midnight to listen to everyone celebrating and eat black-eyed peas for good luck," she said.
Shasta Eidell, of Elkins, breaks a pomegranate on the doorstep for good tidings.
"I like to go to watch night services when I can, and pray for God's blessing and protection in the new year," Eidell said. "Afterward, we take communion to celebrate the new year new beginning"
Sally Myers and father, Ron Myers, of Yorktown and Daleville, Ind., always collect a bucket of water for their celebration.
"We throw a little bit of the water from the bucket throughout the entire day," Sally said. "It is said that makes you have money all year-round, and of course, we eat corned beef and cabbage on New Year's Day. Ron Myers has been known to shoot off his gun at midnight on New Year's Eve."
Veronica Coberly, of Elkins, said if she were back in her home state of Arizona, she would be making menudo.
"It's like a breakfast soup that is eaten on New Year's Day, but we start cooking it the night before. Otherwise, New Year's Eve is family and friends enjoying drinks and each other's company," she said.
K.J. Shaffer, of Ellamore, said he sings in the New Year at his church, the Fairview United Methodist Church.
"My family, like so many others, eat pork and sauerkraut," he said.
Stephanie Riddle, of Elkins, said her family has a special visitor on New Year's Eve.
"Mrs. Claus visits our house on New Year's Eve and leaves a little gift in our stockings," she said. "It's a tradition that I've celebrated since I was very young."
Elkins resident Connie Linger offered advice for visiting in the new year.
"When visiting a friend or family member's house for the first time in the new year, take to them a shiny coin and a lump of coal. The coin to bring prosperity and the coal for warmth in the home," Linger said.
Bonnie Allen said her family shares a south-Texas tradition for the new year.
"We have tamales on Christmas Eve and black-eyed peas for prosperity and cabbage for money on New Year's," she said.
Christina Hyre Nestor, a former Elkins resident who now lives in Alabama, said her family enjoys traditional New Year's foods.
"There's always pork and sauerkraut in the slow cooker for New Year's Day," she said. "It's been done in mine and my husband's families for many generations. Eating these brings good luck and good fortune."
Angie Wilson and Linda Courtney Pifer both serve their families pork and sauerkraut on New Year's Eve, a family tradition that dates back to their childhoods.
Bobby Isner said that he eats sauerkraut on New Year's to bring good luck.
Micky Messer, of Elkins, said she sits down on New Year's Eve with her stack of Christmas cards and reads each one again.
"I take a few minutes to pray for the person or family that sent it," Messner said. "This year I started something new by making a blessing jar to add to my little ritual. Throughout the year, each time I was blessed in some way, I wrote it down on a slip of paper, folded it, and put it in a mason jar. I think it is a perfect way to end the year; reading those notes and cards and being reminded of all of the people and things that I have to be thankful for."
Carrie Hymes said her husband rings the old fire siren in Davis each New Year's, and has for as long as he can remember.
"Now each year, we take our three little ones to ring it," she said.
"Thanks to the Davis mayor for being kind enough to let us carry on this tradition."
Sabrina Swecker said her family makes a set of pillow cases on New Year's Day.
"The pillow cases represent a sack to carry your money in, and you won't go broke in the new year."
Nora Taylor Lambert said her mother's traditions are still with her today.
"My mom always said, 'Whatever you are doing on New Year's Eve, you will be doing all year.' I found myself making sure my laundry and dishes were all done. I knew it wasn't true but I could hear her voice ringing in my ears.
"She always had sauerkraut and weiners and watched 'The Wings of Faith' every New Year's Eve. She passed away New Year's Eve in 2008."
Jessica Jennings said she also eats sauerkraut and pork on New Year's Day.
Hunter Morrison Maclean said he eats sauerkraut and pork at midnight on New Year's Eve, while Paula Taylor said her family always has a pork dinner on New Year's Day with cooked cabbage that has a silver dollar in it.
"Who ever gets the silver dollar is to have good luck all year long," Taylor said.
Jennifer Cox said she watches the New Year's Eve celebration on television until midnight, calls to wish her friend a happy birthday and sometimes uses noise makers.
" I drink Mountain Dew and eat Twizzlers, then go outside and listen to everyone hoot and holler or shoot off guns," Cox said. "Sometimes there are fire works. My dream is to go to New York and watch the ball drop, and get kissed at midnight."
Megan Crosston said her family always eats pork and cabbage to bring them luck.
"Not all of us like cabbage, but we all eat a little," she said.