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  • Ringing in The New Year

    by Hannah Reece December 29, 2023 3 min read 3 Comments

    Ringing in The New Year

    In what feels like the blink of an eye, the year 2023 has come and gone. As the new year approaches, we find ourselves ready to embrace the excitement of the unknown while anticipating new opportunities, new friendships, new knowledge, and new triumphs. Coincidently, we've been finding ourselves looking back, seeking to understand and embrace the traditions that preceded us in 18th Century America.

    While one could spend hours reading and writing about the fun and traditions that occurred over the span of 100 new years, we have decided to summarize some of our favorites below, and how we intend to incorporate them in fun and unique ways today. It is notable that for half of the 18th Century,  New Year celebrations took place on March 25th rather than January 1st. While this sounds strange to us now, it was commonplace for our predecessors following the Julian Calendar.  In 1750 English Parliament made the Gregorian calendar the standard under the law. New Year's Day was officially celebrated on January 1st beginning in 1752!

    Without further ado, enjoy these traditions:

    1. Going A-Wassailing
    Wassailing has a long and rich history which you can read about in detail in the Winter 2019 edition of Reliving History Magazine. Wassail is a strong mulled ale or wine, and the word itself is a toast to good health, suitable for greeting the new year. In the late 18th Century and entering the 19th Century, it was common to go door to door, singing and enjoying wassail on the eve of the new year and around Christmas Time.

    While we don't plan to go door to door with any beverages, we do find it fun to sip on wassail as we watch the ball drop, anticipating good health for the upcoming year. You can find wassail wine and cider spices in our Tea, Coffee, Spices and Mixes collection.

    2. Eating Greens
    This is a tradition that is alive and well today! It is uncertain when exactly eating greens became a common tradition of the new year in America, but recipes for Hoppin' Johns can be dated back to cookbooks of the early 19th Century. Collard Greens signify being financially prosperous for their green appearance, while black eyed peas look similar to coins. 

    We quite enjoy this Cabbage Cooked in Orange Juice recipe accompanied with Cornbread from George Washington's Mount Vernon to get your greens in on New Year's Day.

    3. Writing New Years Resolutions
    Writing New Years Resolutions can be traced as early as 1671. By time the early 1800's rolled around, resolutions were common enough for the following to be printed in "The Friday Lecture" of a Boston Newspaper:

    "And yet, I believe there are multitudes of people, accustomed to receive injunctions of new year resolutions, who will sin all the month of December, with a serious determination of beginning the new year with new resolutions and new behaviour, and with the full belief that they shall thus expiate and wipe away all their former faults."

    Personally, we intend to keep any goals we have written for the year to follow, and we enjoy doing so using our 18th Century quill writing set. What fun it is to think that our ancestors did the same!

    Regardless of how you choose to celebrate, in ways of old or new, we wish you well. John Adams may have said it best in his letter to wife, Abigail Adams, in 1779:

    "I wish you an happy new Year,  and many happy Years -- and all the Blessings of Life.  Who knows but this Year may be more prosperous for our Country than any We have seen.  For my own Part I have hopes that it will.  Great Blessings are in store for it,  and they may come this Year as well as another." 

    3 Responses


    May 13, 2024

    Does the cornmeal come with the cornbread recipe? I can’t take a screenshot of the recipe so I’m hoping its included with the meal.


    January 08, 2024

    I greatly enjoyed the email version of The Red Lion News-Letter! I congratulate you on a job well done. It was great to read the historical notes, the factoids, and see the annual listing of events. I hope this will continue. BTW, the hyper links to the blog are nice as well. I tried Washington’s Cornbread recipe the same day I read it!

    Joel Foster
    Joel Foster

    January 08, 2024

    Enjoyed the blog very much.

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