Folk Traditions: All over the world, people light fireworks at on New Year's Eve/Day in celebration of the New Year, as well as to frighten away evil spirits. In
New Year's Day Prosperity Ritual- All over the South people eat a meal of collard greens, cornbread, and black-eyed peas to ensure their prosperity and protection in the coming year. Symbolically, the greens are said to represent green 'paper money'; the corn, being yellow, represents gold or coins; and the black-eyed peas, each possessing an eye, is said to protect you from negativity and bad luck (especially in the form of the evil eye).
Interestingly, a silver dime is often placed in the black-eyed peas, and the person who by chance is served the dime is said to be especially lucky that year, and he or she will keep the dime as a lucky token throughout the year.
On a personal note, growing up in the South our grandmother's often told us that 'what you do on New Year's Day, you'll be doing all year,' therefore we were never to wash clothes, do housework, etc...