Happy new year!

We went for a new year barbeque at a friend's house; homemade burgers, delicious little pies, enormous tasty cake. We drank and laughed a lot. And just before midnight, I performed The Ceremony. I actually gave up superstition a year or two ago - went cold turkey, now indifferent to magpies - but I still do this one, because my dad has always done it and still does. I should have written about this before, so you could reap the rewards, but I forgot. 

So, for next year, or if you celebrate Serbian new year, this is what you do. Just before the strike of midnight, take a piece of coal (charcoal will do), a slice of bread (or a chunk of a burger bap), and a pound coin (I tried using local currency last year and it didn't seem to do the trick, and with all this talk of unpegging the rial from the dollar, probably best to stick to pounds if you can. It's tradition. I have some pounds if you want one, the jar makes up my emergency travel fund). Then, you put these items outside your front door, and some kind of new year force or set of spirits will recognise them as emblems of what you want for your family this coming year - respectively: warmth, food, and wealth, although I interpret warmth as comfort now that I live here. When you gather up this little collection of stuff and bring it back into your home, straight after 12, they will have been imbued with the power to grant your wishes, and you will have a happy new year. Happy new year!

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