Santa Clarita residents share their New Year’s traditions

Mike Spell (left) and his son enjoy spending the new year at home and away from traffic. Matt Fernandez/ The Signal

As 2018 comes to a close, many people use the last day of the year to reflect on things that have happened and look forward to the possibilities that 2019 will bring.

As is traditional in many places across the globe, many Santa Clarita residents said that they like to stay up until midnight so they can witness the beginning of the new year. Mike Spell said he prefers to spend the night at home and many others shared the sentiment.

“I get to stay inside and be warm with my family,” Spell said. “Plus I don’t have to worry about fighting any of the holiday traffic.”

John Kim’s family follows a Korean tradition known as “saebok” where children and younger individuals formally bow to their elders and adults as a sign of respect while wishing them a happy new year. In return, the children are usually presented with monetary gifts.

John Kim (left) and his son Joshua partake in a Korean New Year’s tradition known as “saebok.” Matt Fernandez/The Signal

Some residents like to spend the holiday with their faith communities. Esther Martinez and Mariah Harrison each said that, for the past several years, church has been the main New Year tradition.

“Each year for the past 10 years, I’ve volunteered at my church to put on an all-night event,” Harrison said. “It gives parents a night away from the kids and this year we implemented laser tag. It also gives the kids an opportunity to spend the new year celebrating with friends that is safe.”

Travel is another way some residents like to say goodbye to the old year and kick off the new one. Kelsey Jirikils said she has spent the past few years travelling with friends to places like San Diego or Frazier Park. Daniel Tuero likes to spend the day with friends and family at the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park.

“I really like the experiences that the park has to offer with the added bonus of dance areas and fireworks at midnight,” Tuero said.  

Many New Year’s traditions are based in the hopes of new luck for the coming year. Jennie Valenzo and her family like to walk around the block with a suitcase after midnight in the hopes of travelling in the new year. Judy Smith said she follows a Texan tradition of eating a dish of black-eyed peas called “Hoppin John” that is said to bring good luck.

For some, not having a tradition is tradition. Liza Donihue said that her family likes to do a different activity each year to celebrate.

“I haven’t decided yet but this year I’m either going to a party off Hollywood Boulevard or we might also stay local to celebrate with at my neighbor’s house,” she said.

Even if some residents do not have any traditional ways to spend the New Year, some say it is never too late to start one. Valerie Kennedy came to Santa Clarita from North Carolina for the first time to visit her daughter.

North Carolina resident Valerie Kennedy said she is looking forward to visiting her daughter in Santa Clarita a yearly tradition. Matt Fernandez/The Signal

“My daughter moved to Santa Clarita six months ago so I came out to visit her for the first time,” Kennedy said. “I really like the area so I’m looking forward to making this a yearly tradition.”

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