Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Superstitions

Happy New Year, Cozies! The champagne glasses are sink-side. Firecrackers have been burnt to crisps. Now what? What are some of your New Year's Day superstitions?

It all, of course, starts with the kiss at midnight. Aside from the parties and pyrotechnics, kissing loved ones is probably one of the most traditional new year superstitions. So traditional, in fact, that it comes from ancient Roman times and the festival of Saturnalia, which honored Janus - the god of gates/doors to beginnings and endings. This also leads back to another supersition because the Romans also believed that the first person to enter your house on New Year's should have a good demeanor so your family would be blessed with good fortune throughout the calendar year.

In modern day, this is called "First Footing." The first person to enter your house on New Year's, according to Snopes.com, "will influence the year you're about to have. Ideally, he should be dark-haired, tall, and good-looking, and it would be even better if he came bearing certain small gifts such as a lump of coal, a silver coin, a bit of bread, a sprig of evergreen, and some salt." Hm...may I request Matthew MacFayden? :)

A new year superstition respected in my childhood home every year was eating one's black-eyed peas. This is a widespread southern tradition which attracts financial fortune. Other things that people eat for luck on New Year's is pork, lentil soup, and - believe it or not - sauerkraut. It is a popular belief that eating chicken or turkey is bad luck on New Year's.

Make sure to stock up the cupboards before the new year. It sets the tone for your pantry for the rest of the year. Paying off the bills is also a great way to start the year, if you can. Keeping your garbage in-house until January 2nd is a great idea, too. Snopes.com adds, "Some people soften this rule by saying it's okay to remove things from the home on New Year's Day provided something else has been brought in first."

If working on New Year's, make sure to do something good or successful involving your job. Don't work too hard, however, or else this too will set the tone for the rest of the year. Many people make it a point to spend time with their children or families on New Year's instead of working because they believe they'll do this every day of the year.

Make lots of loud noise on New Year's because the devil and evil spirits are repelled by it. At midnight, be sure to open doors to let the old year out!

No-no's on New Year's Day....

- laundry

- lend money or other precious items

- pay off loans

- break things

- cry

One more note from Snopes: "If the wind blows from the south, there will be fine weather and prosperous times in the year ahead. If it comes from the north, it will be a year of bad weather. The wind blowing from the east brings famine and calamites. Strangest of all, if the wind blows from the west, the year will witness plentiful supplies of milk and fish but will also see the death of a very important person. If there's no wind at all, a joyful and prosperous year may be expected by all."

Here's hoping for wind from the south or no wind at all - and, of course, a Happy New Year's Day to everyone! If you have New Year's superstitions I didn't mention here, shout 'em out!

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