For More Prosperity in the New Year, Hold Onto Your Coins!
The end of one year and the start of the next is a time when people reflect on what they’ve accomplished and what they would like to accomplish next. Many hopes and dreams are tied to this time, as well as good luck charms for prosperity. Around the world, some of these lucky traditions involve coins.
One extremely common tradition comes from China and involves giving money in a red envelope. Known as “hongbao” in Mandarin, this act goes back to a legend involving a demon. In the story, the parents gave their children a red envelope with eight coins to keep them awake and safe from a demon named Sui. The children did end up falling asleep, but the coins turned out to be fairies who saved them. In 2023, the Chinese New Year falls on January 23, so ward off demons by giving out a red envelope with money at that time!
Over in the Philippines, there are several superstitions involving coins. For one, they believe that everyone should start the new year debt free! And to take it one step further, not a single coin should be spent on January 1 to ensure financial stability. The most fun belief is for children to collect as many coins as they can and shake their pockets exactly at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Coins can also be scattered throughout the house to boost luck with money in the coming year.
Some good luck practices in Europe are also commonly seen around the world. In Romania, it is thought that throwing a coin into a river will bring good luck. This is similar to the act of tossing a coin into a fountain when you make a wish. Much like the tradition in the Philippines, Romanians believe in not starting the new year with an empty bank account! Vasilopita is a Greek bread baked made on New Year’s Eve with a coin inside of it. The family cuts the bread on New Year’s Day and whoever receives the coin is said to have good fortune that year. This is much like the Three Kings Cake used to celebrate the Epiphany in January, which has a hidden figure of the baby Christ.
In the Southern United States, a longstanding dish is associated with the new year and is said to bring good times to those who eat it. Hoppin’ John is a meal made of rice, onions, black-eyed peas, and pork that is often served with cornbread and green vegetables. Each element of Hoppin’ John is said to represent an object tied to prosperity. The black-eyed peas are coins, the green vegetables are money, and the cornbread represents gold for its golden color. To add extra potency to the dish, sometimes a coin such as a penny is hidden under the bowl that Hoppin’ John is served in.
Whatever tradition that you follow for good luck in the new year, we here at Rare Collectibles TV wish you a Happy New Year!