January 2, 2011

New Year's Day Traditions

I am sad to say that the New Year's Day traditions I knew as a child no longer exist. Sometimes we would go to my grandparent's home to ring in the New Year at which time my grandfather would bless the family. This was a long standing French-Canadian tradition. If we did not go over New Year's Eve we would go first thing after church on New Year's Day, and all assembled, we would then receive his blessing.

Whether it was New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, my grandmother would then take out the rest of her delicious "tourtières" (meat pies) and we would feast one more time.

Other times we would go to the home of an aunt or uncle where the whole extended family would gather for a party. When I say "extended family" this would consist of even the children and grandchildren of my grandmother's sisters and brothers. It was so much fun.

As families moved to the suburbs, these traditions seemed to move out of our lives and I really cannot say why. I think what is telling though is that as the grandparents, great aunts and uncles passed away, their children then limited the holiday get-together to their own immediate families.  So much of this tradition died with the elders of the family.  I tried to keep the tradition of the blessing going.  After my father passed away, I would ask my mother for her blessing.

When my husband and I first married, we would have open house on Christmas Eve as we have continued for 35 years but we would also have a big New Year's Day dinner to which everyone was invited. This new tradition did not last long - since people were up so late seeing in the New Year  many were not up to a big meal the next day so we just let it go.

Traditions can be wonderful but I tell myself that nothing is forever though it is sometimes with chagrin that we let go of what was once so important to us.

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Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino


Anonymous said...

No, the tradition is not dead yet. I make pork pies and go to my 95 year old mother for a New Year's Day feast every year. And I live in Virginia, with Quebec ancestry. But my mom says the recipe will die with me, since , in this area, no one will grind pork butts, so I do it myself. So the tradition is not dead quite yet!


Lucie LeBlanc Consentino said...

Thank you for sharing Maurice. It is always good to know that somehow our traditions do live on further than our ancestors...



Adrienne ("A") said...

I stumbled upon this looking for French-Canadian New Year's traditions. It jogged my memory---I was told that my grandfather (from Quebec) conducted the blessing of the children (maybe just the sons) each New Years. We also had a large open house with pork pie and more. I am planning an Open House this year, though I am far from family. Best wishes, Adrienne