Appalachia Celebrating Appalachia Videos Holidays in Appalachia

New Year Traditions in Appalachia


I share some New Year traditions from Appalachia in my latest video. Watch it to see which ones you’re familiar with.

I hope you enjoyed the video!

The whole Blind Pig Gang sincerely hopes the new year is exactly what you want it to be for you and yours.

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  • Reply
    John Hart
    January 3, 2021 at 8:18 am

    Keep it up in 2021!
    I do not think I have seen the new year come in since 2000. Maybe next year.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR to all.

  • Reply
    January 2, 2021 at 10:48 am

    I used to like the Possum-drop in Brasstown…

  • Reply
    Andrew DeShaw
    January 2, 2021 at 7:24 am

    Happy New Year. Thanks for all the wonderful information and work you do.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 1, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    A few minutes ago I checked the weather channel and it said it was 58º at Murphy and 38º here. I hope that don’t mean I’m not going to get my share of global warming in 2021!

  • Reply
    James Kennington
    January 1, 2021 at 4:39 pm

    Growing up, Mom always made the same meal for five of us on New Year’s Day—greens, black-eyed peas, and pork, usually sliced country ham or maybe pork chops, along with a relish tray of pickles, onions, chow-chow, carrot & celery sticks. She wasn’t fond of cornbread, so it rarely made an appearance. The lesson stuck, so 70+ years later, I’m having exactly the same meal for lunch. Made a BIG mess of collards so they’ll be leftovers for sure. Same for the black-eyed peas. Starting the year with a meal like this, 2021 will definitely be an improvement on 2020. Happy New Year to all!

  • Reply
    Dan O’Connor
    January 1, 2021 at 2:12 pm

    Wishing you and all your family the very best in the coming year! Thank you for the gift you daily share.

  • Reply
    Sherry Thacker
    January 1, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    I have never heard of fire balling. They sure do shoot of fireworks. They start about dark. We have always had blackeye peas, cabbage cornbread, applesauce and some kind of pork but not hog jowls as we didn’t like it. I have heard of all the other traditions but we just did the midnight kiss and we didn’t do anything on New year day that we didn’t want to do all year. Granny always left the Christmas tree up but took it down on New year Day. Don’t know the reasoning behind that.

  • Reply
    January 1, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    Gosh Tipper that funny you mention the tall dark headed man coming in the house cause that was the first thing happened this morning. But I’d drather see him going as coming. (Just saying) ha ha I have heard the others. We use to eat the greens and all other. Happy New Year to you all.

  • Reply
    January 1, 2021 at 12:56 pm

    I hope everyone has a happy New Year’s day. My or my wife’ family always ate either collards, or turnip greens, black eye peas and cornbread on New Years . I have mentioned this before, but I’m lucky in having several places close to me that have fresh sausage. One place, Billy Gambrel’s Meats sells fresh sausage, tenderloin, back bone ribs, pig knuckles, hog heads and some other cuts of pork, nothing else. All of this comes from hogs butchered on Mondays. He also sells some of the prettiest fatback you can find anywhere. His shop is behind his home and inspected by the health department just like the other larger meat markets. I bought fresh sausage on Wednesday of this week from him and fresh tenderloin a couple of weeks ago. I had it with biscuits , gravy, and rice. I always have their sausage on hand.

    When growing up it seemed like in the late fall or early winter we would eat turnip greens, back bone ribs, cornbread and a baked sweet potato for supper every other night. All of this except for the corn in the cornbread was grown at home. We only ate what we could grow at home except for flour, cornmeal, milk and a few other things. I was 17 years old before I ever tasted pizza or even knew what it was. To buy a hotdog in a restaurant was a special pleasure. I wonder what a lot of today’s children would do if they had to eat food like this. Now they have special meals just for them because they don’t like what the adults are eating. I ‘m sorry, I probably should not have said that.

  • Reply
    January 1, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    Happy New Year! We always eat black eyed peas and stewed tomatoes for good luck.

  • Reply
    Darrell Keith Cook
    January 1, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    Happy New Year to all! Pray for God’s guidance, His will and mercy this coming year.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    January 1, 2021 at 11:12 am

    Tipper–While we certainly celebrated the New Year with foodstuffs, I don’t recall Momma ever cooking hog jowl. She (and Daddy) were partial to backbones-and-ribs. I have to agree, although if you ask for that particular cut of pork in a grocery store today you are likely to get a blank stare from the butcher which suggests “Where did this fool come from?” In my case “this fool” came from a legacy of mighty fine eating and recognition that with backbones-and-ribs you were (1) Eating high on the hog, (2) Learning the truth inherent in the phrase “the closer to the bone the sweeter the meat, and (3) Knowing that the marrow from bones cooked tender through a long session in the pot could be chewed and sucked to get some of the finest fare a son of the Smokies could possibly want.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    January 1, 2021 at 10:53 am

    Happy New Year to “ya all.’ We continue like our dear parents and grandparents – will have Black eyed peas with fatback, ham, cornbread and greens. One of my favorite meals at anytime. They fired guns at midnight when I was a child and some still do it today, along with firecrackers. I did notice that many years ago that time started to really fly by after I turned 18. Seems like when I was a child it moved very slow.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 1, 2021 at 10:48 am

    Happy birthday Paul! You are among the first with us.

    Growing up the only New Year tradition we observed was the watch service. I expect the name came from the Lord telling us, “What I say to one I say to all, Watch.” In most of those I think, the plan was to be praying just before through until after midnight. As you mentioned, no watch service this year. But this surely is a time for watching.

    I do not recall hearing anything about “field peas” growing up. I am mystified till yet about why not. My first encounter with them was when I was in my 20s and worked with a man from Mississippi who talked about “pink eyed purple hull” peas. I think maybe field peas, okra, collards and sweet potatoes kinda gradually came into Appalachia from the eastern and southern lowlands. But that is just an idea of mine.

    Happy and blessed New Year to each and all of the BP&A readers and family near and far.

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    January 1, 2021 at 10:27 am

    Our family for as long as I can remember always had greens, blackeyed peas and pork on Nrw Year’s Day. We still follow that tradition. I remember my Mom saying something about blackberries as well. We will be having collard greens, blackeyed peas, pork chops and cornbread today and some mixed berry pie.
    Happy New Year to you all!

  • Reply
    Patricia Small
    January 1, 2021 at 10:12 am

    Here in Virginia I’m looking forward to pork chops, greens, and blackeyed peas…Happy New Year!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 1, 2021 at 10:06 am

    Don’t you know you can get masks made with your picture on them so that you look like you even with the mask on? Or if you’d like to look different you can do that too.
    Something just popped in my head. Do women who wear makeup put it on under their mask or just on the part of their face that shows? Or men for that matter, but I don’t even want to think about that!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 1, 2021 at 9:53 am

    Well I stayed up past midnight last night. I hadn’t eaten all day so I decided to fix me some cabbage and cornbread to start the New Year out right. Not just any old cabbage though. I started with a little butter in a skillet. I added some sliced Vidalia onion, green bell pepper and sliced baby Portobello mushrooms. When they all cooked down a little I added half a head of roughly chopped cabbage, covered the skillet, cut down the heat and just let the cabbage steam while I made a pan of cornbread.
    By the time the cornbread was done the cabbage was perfect. I pour myself a glass of buttermilk and sat down to the first feast of 2021. Either I was terribly hungry or that was some of the best eatin’ I ever had.
    Last night I had cabbage, cornbread and buttermilk. Tonight I’ll have left overs but instead of cabbage, cornbread and buttermilk I think I will have cornbread, cabbage and buttermilk. For dessert I might crumble some of the cornbread in a bowl, add sweet milk and have crumble-in.
    Have I made you hungry? OK, maybe buttermilk isn’t your preference so you can switch that up!

  • Reply
    Carol Roy
    January 1, 2021 at 8:46 am

    Hi Tipper….many thanks for sharing New Year traditions in Appalachia country …must say many of them we also have here …..great job. Happy New Year to you and your family! <3

  • Reply
    Jan Arthur
    January 1, 2021 at 8:33 am

    Happy New Year, Tipper and family! We certainly enjoy your blog! Am soaking my black eye peas And will have ham, cabbage and cornbread today. Hope the new year is good to all of us!! Stay safe in North Carolina!

  • Reply
    Doug Bishop
    January 1, 2021 at 8:02 am

    On Del-Mar-Va Churches would hold Watch Night service. Concerning the passage of time…many years ago I picked my then six year old grandson up at school. He climbed up, sat in the seat, looked at me and asked, ” Grammpie, have you noticed the older you get , the faster time passes?” Today he is a 3rd year Pre-Med student, living in Kentucky.

    • Reply
      Ron Stephens
      January 1, 2021 at 10:34 am

      Oh my! That wise beyond his years child. He knew at 6 what my Dad tried to tell me which I only learned in my 40s.

  • Reply
    January 1, 2021 at 7:54 am

    May your New Year be joyous and happy.

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