There are a lot of ancient traditions for predicting the luck of the New Year. Since there are already so many with dire predictions for 2012, I thought you might want to do some predicting of your own. Here are some options from around the world.
The druids celebrated the New Year's on Dec. 21 but you can still do this on Jan. 1. The tradition was to sit at a crossroads and meditate on the direction to take with your life. The crossroads symbolized how different choices would cause completely different destinations and outcomes.
Another early European tradtion was to toss a shoe over your left shoulder and it if landed upright, the outlook for the year is favorable. For this you might do better with your Air Jordan's than your Manolo Blahnik's. Anything with a 4-inch heel is not going to land upright.
A Swedish tradition is to serve a white porridge or rice pudding where a single almond or raisin is hidden inside. The servings are dished up and whoever gets the almond or raisin is destined to be married within a year.
An Austrian tradition says that if you serve pork on New Year's Day you'll have good luck all year. And to make sure, often the table will be decorated with little minature pigs made of sugar or chocolate.
In Brazil the lentil is considered lucky and a sign of wealth. For New Year's they will serve a lentil soup or lentils with rice to bring prosperity to the family in the coming year.
Chinese New Year falls on Jan. 23 this year but you can still follow some of the traditions for bringing in luck. It's said that evil spirits don't like loud noises so fireworks are set off to frighten away the bad energy. Also it's a tradition to wear new clothes on New Year's Day to signify the prosperity you want to attract. (For more information about the Year of the Water Dragon coming in 2012 check out my upcoming eBook).
In India the New Year falls in late October but its traditions are great ideas for all of us. To mark the end of the year, businesses pay all their debts and get new account books to start the year off fresh. People make amends with neighbors and friends so that no quarrel is carried into the New Year.
And there's the Greek tradition of celebrating both the New Year and St. Basil's day on Jan. 1. A cake is baked with a gold coin inside. Then the slices are passed out in strict order. The first goes to St. Basil, the second to the house, the third to the most senior member of the household followed by the next, and the next down to the youngest. And the final piece goes to the poor. Whoever finds the coin in their slice will be lucky and blessed in the coming year.