Growing up in my Armenian-American home, New Year’s eve had one theme – getting the laundry done and the house cleaned! You see, the women in my family believed that starting a new year with a dirty house, dirty laundry and dirty sheets would bring bad luck. Tradition or Superstition? ... You decide! As for me, I’m too afraid to care about the difference and believe my mother and grandmother will haunt me from Heaven if I don’t comply.
I recall negotiating with my mother that there surely must be an unwritten grace period of time during the night. Let’s face it, whose hamper is ever empty for more than a minute? I never did get a straight answer…. but I did come up with some creative work-arounds. Fast forward to the next generation, and you can probably guess whose kids were also raised with this tradition. My kids also negotiated the grace period and got the same vague answer. Now that they are grown and on their own, they will dodge my calls and texts on the days leading up to and on New Year’s eve. Take it from me, if you want to make an Armenian mother or grandmother happy, don’t call at midnight to wish her a happy new year. Rather, call and tell her you finished your laundry and have clean sheets on your bed. She will be thrilled!
The suburban neighborhood in which we were raised in the 1960’s and 1970’s had very few Armenian, immigrant, and bilingual families. So, keeping the tree and lights up until Armenian Christmas on January 6 was just one more thing that made us different. It didn’t matter that there were more needles on the floor than on the tree, it was important to the adults in my house to keep that tree alive and lit. I remember the excitement from my family driving by other homes with bright trees in the windows rejoicing that they must also be Armenians (enter eyerolls). As younger kids, we did wonder why Santa didn’t visit again although we did enjoy having another Christmas party at Sunday School. And now when asked if I have a real or fake tree, it’s time for me to roll my eyes, again. Well, of course we have a fake tree – how else would we keep it up for Armenian Christmas on January 6!
I hope this made you smile and reminisce some of your favorite traditions or superstitions. Which ones have you kept? Which ones have you started?
Are you looking to start a new tradition? Try the laundry one. Imagine how powerful it could be if we all started 2022 fresh and without 2021’s dirty laundry!
MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR!