Happy New Year!

Liddo Bitta Tita


Story by Kathy Collins

Listen to this column read aloud in pidgin:

Tita Kathy Collins

New Year’s is my mos’ favorite holiday of all, ‘cause everybody can celebrate ‘em, no matta what kine race or religion you get. New Year’s is all about change an’ hope an’ fresh starts for all us guys.

And yet, what I love da most about New Year’s is da same old traditions. I not saying I supa-stitious, but get certain stuffs I gotta do every New Year’s, stuffs I been doing fo’ so long as I can remembah.

First t’ings firs’. Bafo’ you can celabrate da New Year, gotta take care da Old Year. Gotta clean house, pay all da bills, wrap up all da kine loose ends dat went fall troo da cracks. An’ gotta do all dat befo’ da year pau. No can sweep da house New Year’s Day; bum-by you sweep out all da good luck fo’ da year.

My faddah used to t’row big New Year’s party fo’ all our family and friends. Plenny kaukau and drink, sparklahs and small-kine fireworks, plus music, talk story, and most of all, aloha spirit. Even da aunties who fight with each oddah all year long, they make nice on New Year’s.

When come midnight, da haole couples kiss. Da res’ of us too busy lighting firecrackahs for scare away all da bad kine spirits. Nowadays everybody get cell phones, so our time stay all synchra-nize. Not like bafo’, when everybody’s watches stay different, so you hear da karak-arak-arak goin’ off in spurts, all different times, all ova da neighba-hood. Everybody laugh up when da last bunch go off, way aftah all da rest pau. Always get somebody whose watch stay ten minutes slow.

Next morning, New Year’s Day, first t’ing I do is take showah, greet da New Year wit’ clean body an’ spirit. First t’ing I eat is ozoni—Japanee soup wit’ mochi inside. Get oddah stuffs you gotta eat fo’ good luck too: sekihan, da pink rice wit’ red beans (no, not da Cajun kine) . . . azuki beans, da sweet black ones dat stay cook in syrup wit’ chestnut pieces . . . red sashimi . . . But da mos’ important, if you get Japanee blood, is da mochi. You eat mochi on New Year’s Day fo’ give you strength an’ wisdom an’ long life. An’ good luck. I t’ink so all da ethnic groups get their own good-luck foods. Dass jus’ da ones I wen’ grow up wit’.

But da most serious tradition I follow went come from my maddah. I donno if she went get ‘em from her maddah or if she went jus’ make ‘em up. But our family, we no bodda wit’ New Year’s resolutions. We jus’ believe dat whatevah you do on New Year’s Day, you going end up doin’ ‘em fo’ da res’ a da year. So you gotta pay attention to what you do. No be grouchy, no pick fights, no grumble about what you nevah get fo’ Christmas. Go do something productive, spend some time wit’ da guys you love da mos’, make somebody smile, and take care yourself too. You do dat on New Year’s Day, garans ball-barans, 2010 going be one awesome year!


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