Carrying on New Year’s Day Traditions in Tamaqua

TAMAQUA, Pa. -- Slow roasted pork, mashed potatoes, and homemade sauerkraut... all part of the annual New Year's Day feast held at the Zion Lutheran Church in Tamaqua.

"A lot of people in our high-rise and majestic who just can't get out and people who simply don't cook their meal and have their pork for good luck for New Year's," says organizer Deb Davies. "So we thought let's have a free New Year's Day dinner."

Members of the Zion Lutheran Church tell Newswatch 16 they started this dinner three years ago as a way to bring the community together on New Year's Day.

"Our friend belongs to this church. She comes here. She told us about it, and we came to support it because it's so wonderful," explained Rhonda Beck of Nesquehoning.

For some, the camaraderie is a bonus because they're here for the luck.

"Well, it's pork and sauerkraut day, and you have to have pork and sauerkraut for good luck, because of that pig," says Len Chiszek of Lake Hauto.

But where does this promise of good luck come from?

"Because a pig does not walk backwards. It walks forwards, so you have to move forward into the new year. That's the reason," explained Chiszek.

For some, the superstitions started last night just before midnight.

"We stood on our right foot and lifted our left leg so that we could start off the new year on the right foot," adds Beck.

Fun and folklore aside, members and friends of this church hope to continue this annual tradition for years to come.

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