Friday, January 3, 2014

Hoppin' John and Old Christmas

Every New Year's Day we have black-eyed peas and greens. Eating these is supposed to bring you luck. Where I live, this is pretty common fare on New Year's Day. Someone remarked they were not suspicious. This is not about being superstitious, the is tradition.

We have Hopping John, greens and tomato pudding.

Hopping John

Tomato Pudding

"Today, hardly anyone knows of Old Christmas. But, the elder bushes and the animals of the barn and field have surely not forgotten..." (from the Tellico Plains newspaper) Elder bushes bloom on the ground and you need to give carrots or other treats to animals in the barn. At midnight, the animals kneel down to pray and sometimes you can hear them talk.

Too many people are in a rush for Christmas to be over. This date goes back to the Julian calendar which was replaced in about 1751 by the Gregorian calendar which was a more accurate calendar. In order to accomplish this, the calendar was moved ahead by several days in September. Some people were upset by the “missing” days and they decided to celebrate Christmas as it had been celebrated before the calendar change. Old Christmas is on the sixth of January.

There are many superstitions associated with this day such as not washing clothes or sweeping. Also, a woman should not leave the house until a man has entered that door from the outside. I am pretty sure that I will not observe the last one because when Miss Bailey wants to go out, she wants to go out now. She does not care whether or not a man has entered the house by this door.

Long after my friends have taken down their trees and packed away the decorations Several friends have starting decorating for Valentine's Day, but I will continue to leave my Christmas tree up and my candles in the windows until after Old Christmas.

Ancestor Tree


  1. Love the post. I know what tomato pudding is, I have that recipe but what is hopping john? Taters? LOVE The Ancestor tree too!

    1. Hopping John is a mixture of bacon, onions and black-eyed peas mixed with rice. It is often served with hot sauce or salsa. Kudos to you for knowing about tomato pudding. My Mother used to make it and I like to have on New Years. The skillet in the photo belonged to G Grandmother.

  2. I had never heard of Old Christmas, what a wonderful post! I love the tree too.

    1. Thank you! I like my ancestor tree too. It took some time to find enough small frames.