Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy 2012!!!

2011 didn’t end with a bang, in fact I’m not sure at which point we actually “rang” in the New Year because every cell phone, iPad, clock and wristwatch showed a different time. I’m pretty sure that we might have spent it on Skype with my parents, as there was a short “Happy New Year” conversation just about that time… But I’m skipping ahead.

Photo credit: Andrejs Lazda

After our road trip home from Lyon everyone slept in and a big breakfast of crêpes turned out to be just the way to start the day. It was a lazy day at home, a great way to spend the last of 2011, as well as the last day with our guests, my sister Anna and her husband Andrejs. At some point we all managed to get out to wander through downtown one last time for the year, and two cafés and one Christmas train ride later arrived home to start preparations for the big vecgada vakara dinner.

Latvians have many traditions to ring in the New Year, including all sorts of fortune telling methods to predict what everything in the New Year will be like. Want to know if you will be getting married, or what the harvest will be like, if you might be buying a horse or if there is fortune or travel in the next year? There is something for everyone, and although I never ran out of the house at midnight to grab fence posts or weigh a cat while growing up, we did “pour our luck,” (laimes liešana) pour molten lead into a bucket of cold water and analyze the resulting figure for resemblance to objects that might give some clue as to what we would encounter in the following year. Another popular method is to fill a large bowl with water and then line the edges with predictions. Using a nutshell or other floating object as a small boat, a candle is lit by each person seeking a fortune, then set in the middle of the bowl after the water is swirled. The closest fortune to the first place the boat lands is yours.

Although we didn’t melt lead or float candles, we did manage to stick to one of the most common traditions, the eating of pelēkie zirņi, or grey peas. Our guests from Latvija, Matīss and Indra had brought us a package of this hard-to-find New Year’s food, and after letting them soak for almost the whole day and then boiling them for several hours, Andrejs cooked up bacon and onions to go with them and we enjoyed them as our first snack of the New Year. I believe they are supposed to be the last food eaten in the year, and there is some sort of negative prediction for the new one if the whole pot is not finished, but with the unnoticed change of year we proceeded with what we knew; they were finished cooking and we were hungry!

Lauris trying on a Christmas gift from his krusttēvs Māris

And so we didn't make it to Parc Montjuzet to see the fireworks, and all the official New Year's toasts happened on our living room balcony while listening to the cacophony of cheering and honking of revelers celebrating, but it was the perfect start to a year of adventure. The next morning our guests had an early train to catch in order to make their flight to Dublin, and so the first day of the New Year it was just the three of us again. But, there is big change coming in 2012, and it won’t be three of us for long…

I wish everyone a fantastic New Year; may you achieve your goals, live in health, and enjoy each day to the fullest!
All the best, Femme au Foyer


  1. those grey peas sound great!

  2. I've never heard of grey peas... I'm going to google them. When I was a little girl, my mother always made black eyed peas for midnight. I wonder if the pea tradition related?
    Happy 2012 :-)

  3. MMMMMM - garšīgs sākums jaunam gadam! Esam laimīgi, ka varējām to iesvinēt ar jums trim (gandrīz četriem)!


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