In Haiti, the traditional meal on New Year's Day is pumpkin soup, or soup joumou. (Here's some information on why this dish is traditional for New Year's and also a recipe.) I love walking through our neighborhood on January 1st and smelling the fragrance of soup coming from the houses I pass. Like other New Year's foods in other cultures, this soup is supposed to bring good luck when eaten at the beginning of the year.
We dutifully ate our soup this year, and eleven days later our city fell down.
Because of my husband's childhood in Japan, we always eat mochi on New Year's Day, too. (Here's some information with photos.) Mochi is also supposed to bring good luck.
We ate our mochi this year, too.
When we were at the beach in June, my husband fixed us some mochi and we pretended it was New Year's Day. Today he pointed out that we have a joumou growing in our yard, so maybe we'll have to repeat the soup joumou as well.
Since we work at a school, we generally think of August as the beginning of the year anyway, but this year it feels especially important to have a new beginning. I don't want to pretend the last six months didn't happen - too many good things came my way in that time - but I do feel that we are starting again in a lot of ways. I am working on getting my head back into teacher mode by setting up my classroom and reading professional books (one I had apparently started reading before the earthquake, because it has a bookmark in it and underlining and notes in my handwriting). I can hardly remember how things used to be before January 12th, or what kind of life we had. I can't remember how I used to think about things back then.
Shall we call this 2010, Part B? Anyone want some soup?
3 hours ago