Appalachia Blind Pig Gang Holidays in Appalachia

What We Did for New Year’s Eve

New Year's Eve Traditions

We rarely do anything special for New Year’s Eve. Oh there have been a few years that we went over to a friends house to ring in the new year and back in the day we stayed up even if it was just The Deer Hunter and me celebrating. But most years we’re long asleep before the new year rings itself into Brasstown with the dropping of the balloons through the Keith House ceiling, the lowering of the possum, and the cannon shooting of underwear. If you didn’t know it, Brasstown is a happening place on New Year’s Eve.

This year we did something different.

I first read about the tradition of burning one’s troubles before a new year begins on Granny Sue’s blog. It’s a tradition her and Larry do every year. They’ll even burn your troubles if you send them to them.

new years cleansing by fire

I’m not sure what made me think of the tradition, but once I did I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I told the girls about it and then said “Your Daddy has a fire built so we could burn our troubles inside instead of having to go out and build a bonfire.” Since they did have plans for New Year’s Eve, they were all for the staying inside part so they didn’t end up smelling like smoke before they left for the evening.

By nightfall we’d all scurried away somewhere and wrote down things we wanted to burn or let go of from the year 2017.

new years traditions in appalachia burn your troubles

We gathered in the basement around the woodstove. Even The Deer Hunter came along, although he didn’t write anything down to burn.

One by one we tossed our folded papers into the fire and watched them disappear. No one really said what they had written down and no one asked either.

Do I really believe we disposed of the troubles and heartaches of 2017 forever? Not really, but it sure felt good to at least symbolically say goodbye to the fears, worries, and bad feelings we’ve each been carrying around over the last year.


p.s. If the comment feature is asking you to jump through a bunch of hoops I’m sorry! It was supposed to only ask you to check a box. I’m working on the feature and hope to have it fixed soon!


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  • Reply
    January 11, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    If it were only that easy.

  • Reply
    Gina Price and family
    January 11, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Happy New Year Tipper !

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 10, 2018 at 11:53 pm

    I am usually up past midnight on any given night. I don’t pay much attention to New Years but I was rudely made aware this year. Somebody in the neighborhood has a cannon or a mortar or something that produces a very loud BOOM! They only fire it a time or three on the 4th of July and on New Years. I don’t know where the sound comes from but it is a definitely unique.

  • Reply
    January 10, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    I think it is a wonderful idea! 2017 was such a hard, hard year for my family and me, and I felt such a desire to NOT carry the bad stuff into the new year. I have never heard of burning the troubles, but I think it would be very therapeutic and helpful. We prayed the old year out and the new year in, and then, recently, we prayed and asked God to help us to let all of the hurt and bad go….to leave the past where it happened. It reminded me of those little magic slates I used to play with as a child…you could have a picture drawn on it, then pull the plastic film up, and it would erase everything, so you could start all over. Thank God for a brand new year, and a fresh, clean slate!

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    January 10, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    That’s great, I will have to remember to do that next New Year’s Eve! Burning your troubles sounds better than making resolutions that get broken.

  • Reply
    January 10, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    Interesting idea, don’t believe I’ve ever heard of it. We don’t usually stay up late or I don’t, my Wife and Daughter may watch T.V or something but I generally am a early to bed early to rise kinda Guy even on Holiday’s.

  • Reply
    Glenda C. Beall
    January 10, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    Tipper, your new format is looking good and I don’t have any problem with any of it. Thanks for your loyalty to your readers and for being there for us the past years. Your blog is one of my favorites. Tonight while reading again Joan Cannon’s blog posts from 2008, I saw your comments that encouraged her. I am sorry to say she passed away in October. I will be posting about her soon.

  • Reply
    January 10, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    Thank you so much for your blog. This post reminds me of something we did in our family for years. I think I’ll start up this tradition again. What a perfect way to get a fresh start going!

  • Reply
    Stephen T.
    January 10, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    Hi Tipper,

    Burning one’s “troubles” as a New Year’s Eve tradition sounds like a very worthwhile one indeed. We all know that worrying won’t add a second to our lives (in fact it actually decreases our lifespan) and just makes us miserable as we divert mental energy that could be put to good use solving problems instead of mulling over things often out of our control.

    I really like Ron’s suggestion for readers to write about their Appalachian connection, but I also would hate to dilute the charming insights of your blog with too many other perspectives. Afterall, people subscribe to your blog to hear your wit and down-to-earth take on Appalachian life, past, present and future.

  • Reply
    January 10, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    I met Granny Sue and Larry at Paul’s Community Building at Martin’s Creek and I guess she’s the best Storyteller I ever heard. I think they are from West Virginia, where Granny Sue does lots of terrific stories. One of My Favorites is about “Rendercella and her Sad Blisters.” She does better than Archie Campbell of “Hee Haw.” …Ken

  • Reply
    January 10, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    Our church does something similar at the end of the Ash Wednesday service but I also like the idea for New Years. It also reminds me of the “trouble tree”: choose any tree or bush outside your front door; as you come home, stop a moment and touch the tree as you list the troubles you are going to leave with it so you don’t take them into your home. – They’re there if you want to pick them up in the morning as you start your new day. Basically I guess all these traditions are a way of saying you are in charge of whether or not you hang on to whatever is grieving you.

  • Reply
    Carol rosenbalm
    January 10, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    Love iit! Going to write this in my journal for next year! Even though it’s just a simple it’s a way of your mind seeing their troubles go away!

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    January 10, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    i havent heard about this tradition but think it a great idea for thi new years have a great day

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    January 10, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    tipper I wish I had a fireplace…I guess its like a finish to your thoughts….I wish you all much love and happiness…

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    January 10, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    We went to bed early and left the roads to the drunks, unfortunately. Not unfortunate that wedidn’t go out, but unfortunate that we think about drunks on the road on New Year’s Eve!

  • Reply
    January 10, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    I’m glad you got rid of that thing that asks so many questions, just above the Post Comment section. When I called Ed Ammons and told him it wouldn’t let me comment because an advertisement was too close to Post Comment, he chuckled and told me “that wasn’t an advertisement.” I hadn’t ever seen such a thing! But anyway, I’m glad its gone. That’s the only thing I’m in disagreement with on this blog. Love the Blind Pig and the Acorn! …Ken

  • Reply
    January 10, 2018 at 11:28 am

    I believe letting go of hurts and disappointments is good therapy, and a fire represents cleansing and renewal, as the phoenix rises from the ashes.

    I’m looking forward to another year of your blog and your insights!

  • Reply
    January 10, 2018 at 10:51 am

    I will definitely do this next New Year’s if I am still around .

  • Reply
    January 10, 2018 at 9:23 am

    If you had posted this before New Year’s Eve, I could have kept my fire going way past midnight with the pile of papers I’m sure I would have written.The tradition is new to me. It sounds like great therapy regardless of the time of year.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 10, 2018 at 8:45 am

    I like the idea because it is so definite and complete. It is the hanging on and brooding over things that haunts us. I have a long list of less-than-good memories I need to put in a fire and leave behind.

    I think the idea of not sharing is also best. No doubt there were things that involved each other in some degree. There might be some things that were the same for everybody and would be OK to share but how could one know?

    By the way, I have a kind of half-formed idea that maybe us readers could take some of the load off you by helping you out with topics. It is only a half-idea because I stop there and don’t get to specifics. A possible example is having us tell where we are located (no more specific than state and county or town) and what our connection with Appalachia is. And by ‘connection’ I mean even just being curious or having a family connection several generations back. In thinking about it, I can understand that you could have some concern about your effort being ‘hijacked’ (in a manner of speaking). I don’t have any insight to that situation. Anyway, something to think about perhaps.

    • Reply
      January 10, 2018 at 11:10 am

      Ron-great idea! I’ll add it to my to-do list : )

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 10, 2018 at 8:18 am

    What a lovely tradition, very cleansing and healing. Tip, don’t underestimate the power of symbolically releasing all the things that are troubling you. Your enacting of the symbol tells your subconscious that you are, indeed, willing to let them go.
    Your new blog space is really looking good! I happen to know that you spent untold hours making this change happen and you did it for us and for Appalachia, On behalf of Appalachia and all your bloggers who love Appalachia, a great BIG thank you!!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    January 10, 2018 at 7:34 am

    Burning the things you wish gone from your life had never been a tradition in my family, as an adult I have participated in a few of these burning ceremonies they put a focus on what you wish removed from your life and places it on the things you wish to keep or add. A good thing I think

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