ATLANTA — Growing up in Colombia, Linda Perez always loved her family's holiday traditions. She kept them going even after moving to the United States and having a family of her own.
"These are things that I did with my grandparents and my parents, so I always do it," she explained just before New Year's.
Like many others, she's hoping her traditions will keep bringing good fortune to her family in 2022.
"We put money like change outside the door and we sweep it in to bring abundance inside the house. One other thing we do, if you want to travel in the New Year, go out around the block with a suitcase, and you prepare it for your trips," Perez added. "So, you just run around the neighborhood with your suitcase so that's something that we do every year and it has never failed."
However, she's made some adjustments over the years to incorporate American traditions for her children. Every year, the traditions she's grown up with help her appreciate what she has and strive for something more.
This idea of striving for more is something Bishop Albert Lindsey Jr. helps keep alive for his congregations with another New Year's tradition, Watch Night.
"Watch Night originally started as our ancestors in slavery sitting around waiting, the pending announcement of their freedom," he explained. "While that is the historical reality of Watch Night, it was still a worship experience because they did gather in secret... to worship and to be thankful for the year to come."
Normally, Bishop Lindsey said the church would be filled as his congregation continued on with the traditions. However this year, things are different. Rising COVID cases mean this year's service will be virtual.
Yet, Lindsey said the spirit of Watch Night will still be felt, even as people watch on their screens.
"No matter what's going on. No matter what has happened, the fact that we've made it gives us an opportunity to hope," he added.