Happy New Year! I can’t think of anything more traditional for New Year’s Day than good ol’ Pork and Sauerkraut!
Where I grew up was on the border between the outskirts of Philadelphia and the eastern reaches of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. This led to two different traditions in my household. The Mummer’s Parade or the Tournament of Roses in the morning followed by Pork and Sauerkraut for supper.
Well, nowadays I’m the dad and we have a little tradition of our own. My sons’ Boy Scout Troop 624 holds an annual Pork and Sauerkraut dinner at Schuylkill Lodge 138 in Orwigsburg, PA. Every member of the troop shares KP duty serving up the holiday fare. It’s a wonderful time to get in touch with the community and share some fellowship with the troop families.
So, why Pork and Sauerkraut? Well, tradition holds that pork is lucky because pigs root forward rather than backwards like chickens and turkeys. As such, pigs are considered to be symbols of progress and are indicative of the promise of a New Year. Traditionally, when cabbage was harvested and preserved at the end of October it would take about eight weeks for the fermentation of sauerkraut to complete. This made the sauerkraut available right in time for New Year’s. They added on the symbolic meaning of the shreds of cabbage. The long shreds are meant to symbolize long life. In either case, the tart sauerkraut is a wonderful flavor pairing with the fatty, salted pork.
People have a lot of traditions for New Year’s Day. I’m from a part of Pennsylvania where the Pennsylvania Dutch are a strong cultural influence. There’s nothing more traditional around my home than enjoying a plate of pork and sauerkraut for good luck on New Year’s Day. Some people find sauerkraut a little bitter, so it helps to cut up an apple and cook it in with the sauerkraut to take off the edge.
Another tradition from where I grew up is the annual Mummer’s Parade. This parade has been going in its present form since 1901. The parade is made up of local organizations who participate in four divisions. The string bands, comics, fancies and fancy brigades.
Another parade that I’ve always been a fan of is the Tournament of Roses. The floats are tremendous works of art. Mosaics made of variously colored roses travel the streets of Pasadena, California. This parade starts at 8AM Pacific Time which is 11AM here on the East Coast. That’s a plus because those who want to watch both the Mummers and the Rose Parade won’t have to choose between them.
Click the pirates to watch the Mummers in Philadelphia starting at 9AM
Pork & Sauerkraut may or may not bring good luck, but what’s the harm in trying?
A new year means a new start for a lot of people. 45% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, but significantly fewer stick to them. The most common resolutions center around:
Getting fit and healthy
Getting back on a budget
Spending more wisely
Up to 25% of people who make resolutions give up on them before the end of January. The best way to stay out of this group is to start small. Only make resolutions you think you can keep. Break them out into small achievable steps. When you’ve succeeded in completing a step, it will boost your confidence to keep on with the following steps. Stay positive. Stay on track. You will succeed!
Well, I couldn’t find 8 maids milking, but I found this charming oil by mid-17th Century Dutch artist Gerard ter Borch.
“A Maid Milking a Cow in a Barn” circa 1652-1654 by Gerard ter Borch