Volume II : Page 9

Volume II | December 31, 2021

Volume II : Page 9

Arjé WORLD: New Year's Traditions

We were thinking recently about how January gets its name from Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and endings, doorways and transitions. Janus is usually shown with two faces, one to look forward and one to look back- the perfect image of how we feel moving into the New Year. 2021 was the biggest step so far in an evolving Arjé world and community. We wouldn't have made it here without you, and we can't wait for the continuing story.


We always take a moment of reflection before celebrations begin, before midnight, to take stock and set our intentions for the coming year, and if you know us, you know we look for symbolism in everything. Like the ancient Romans, who showed their gratitude for the passage of time with gifts of figs and honey, the celebration usually happens for us at one of our favorite places- the table.


Symbolic foods of luck and hope are a universal mark of the New Year, and this year we’ll be thinking how to imbue meaning into our holiday meal everywhere we can. Figs and pomegranates are a timeless bearer of abundance (think of all those seeds!) Beans and legumes are often used in year’s end dishes, because the round shapes resemble gold coins and represent future prosperity. Italy and Brazil love lentils, and you might see black eyed peas in Greece, Colombia, the American South and the Middle East. And always, a round dessert: donuts, crepes, pastry, or all over Europe, a ring-shaped King cake with a prize coin baked inside- to represent a full circle of the year from beginning to end.

The Twelve Grapes

Our favorite will always be The Twelve Grapes, a longstanding tradition with our family in Madrid, (and most families throughout Spain.) As the clock strikes midnight, each person eats 12 grapes at once, and you have only seconds to fill your mouth with the dozen grapes that symbolize luck for each month of the year. With each bell of the clock to mark the new hour, the fruit is eaten so quickly there’s no time to swallow anything but good fortune. We love that idea- being so filled with laughter, there’s simply no room for anything else.

However you celebrate, whatever culture, tradition or appreciation of beauty you choose to honor around your table tonight, we’re thinking of you as we end the year in gratitude and make space for a whole new one full of possibility.


With Love,

The Corrals

Image Credit : U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705

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