While walking through the chip aisle of Wal-Mart on Friday, Carter Miller paused to consider the shopping list his wife Sandy had sent with him. "My wife said to get black-eyed peas," he said. "She does it for superstition. I don't reckon I'm superstitious."

Miller was one of many Cullman County residents to walk out of the store with black-eyed peas in tow. Eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day has long been something of a superstition, said to bring good luck throughout the year. But for some, it's more about tradition than superstition.

"In my family, we've always had black-eyed peas, greens and some kind of pork," Brenda Arnold explained.

Arnold isn't alone. Martha Benefield of Fairview said she eats a similar meal for the new year. It's tradition for her, but she explained the roots of the superstition.

"You eat the peas to have pennies in your pocket and you eat the greens to have greens in your wallet," Benefield said.

Vicki Bagley said she doesn't have any superstitions, but other members of her family do.

"My sister does, which is why I'm looking at the black-eyed peas." Bagley said she would have the peas, greens and pork on hand for her sister's visit this weekend to ensure that she doesn't have a bad year.

Likewise, Bagley's mother refuses to wash anything on the first day of the year. Superstition says you'll wash someone out of your life. Bagley said that's another superstition she doesn't buy into.

"But I don't wash so she doesn't panic," Bagley said.

Katie Reynolds' husband added a can of black-eyed peas to her cart while they shopped Friday, but she said she can take them or leave them.

"I've eaten black-eyed peas and I've not eaten black-eyed peas, and my luck's been the same through the year," she said. "I can't see a difference."

For Gordon Gilliland, a lack of superstitions is intentional.

"I've done got too old to be superstitious," he said. "When you pass 80 ... you just live life day to day."

Cassie Sulzby, an employee at Moxie Java, said she holds to more traditions than superstitions.

"You have to have a bottle rocket war. If you don't do that, you'll have bad luck," she said with a grin. "I've never had a New Year's where I didn't have a bottle rocket war."

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