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Breaking Dishes: A New Years Tradition

At midnight, we broke plates. My friend Manuela explained that in Italian cities the tradition can be quite dangerous as people throw anything from plates to old washing machines out windows several stories up. The destruction is a way of saying goodbye to the old year, letting go of things unneeded, starting the new year with open hands, and solid closure on whatever the old year contained. 
Facebook status messages on New Years Eve revealed that many were pleased to close the books on 2010 and turn their hope to 2011, although there were some reflecting fondly on the last year. Destruction can represent finality or celebration. Breaking dishes fits for either camp. My plate was like a personal Cin Cin, Salud, La'chaim, or Cheers! It was celebration and anticipation.
Destruction can also make tangible your resolution for the new year. Breaking plates is a visual, visceral goodbye to large portions or many food-related habits. If your resolution involves watching less television, tossing an old tube-style tv could be quite satisfying. If your resolution is to more often tell those around you how important they are, an old cell phone could do the trick. 
If 2010 was not all you had hoped, break a plate and say sayonara. If you survived 2010, even if just barely, break a plate in celebration. If you have new or renewed goals for the new year, break a plate or other representative object to mark the change. If you are simply anticipating a new year and new adventures, break a plate as you break in the new year and open your arms to whatever 2011 may hold.
But when you are done breaking dishes, don't forget to sweep the sidewalk. Thanks!

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