How to Ensure a Happy New Year

December 31, 2007

Some people believe that the things they do on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day will influence or set a pattern for the rest of the year. Me, I’m not superstitious. But just in case you want to hedge your bets, here are some common (and uncommon) beliefs.

Before midnight

  • Make sure your home contains plenty of food and money. Empty pockets or cupboards on New Year’s Eve may usher in a year of poverty.
  • If the new year begins with debt, you will continue to owe for the rest of the year. Write and mail out checks for household bills and settle personal debts prior to midnight.

    At the stroke of midnight

    • Open all the doors so the old year can escape and the new year may enter.
    • Make loud noises to scare away evil spirits.
    • Kiss those dearest to you to ensure their affection will continue another 12 months.
    • Jumping up and down at midnight will cause you to grow taller.
    • Eating 12 grapes (one for each month) will ensure a good year.
    • If you live alone, you can ensure a lucky year by putting a coin in a basket that has a string tied to it, then placing the basket just outside your front door. After midnight, pull the string to bring the basket inside (don’t just reach out to retrieve it; that would cancel the luck).

    After midnight

    • Good fortune will be yours if the first person to cross your threshold in the new year is a tall, dark haired, good looking man (if the first to enter is blond, redheaded or female, bad luck will follow). A man with a high instep, or one riding a horse, is considered particularly lucky. He should be carrying gifts including a silver coin, a sprig of evergreen, a lump of coal, a chunk of bread and a bit of salt.
    • The first person to enter must not be cross-eyed, flat footed or have eyebrows that meet in the middle.
    • Drink the last dregs of a bottle used to celebrate the new year and good fortune will be yours.
    • Wind up all the clocks and you will endow the house with good fortune.

    On New Year’s Day

    • Absolutely nothing, not even garbage, can be taken out of your home on the first day of the year. Don’t sweep as much as a speck of dust or you might sweep good luck from the house.
    • Washing dishes and doing laundry on this day will lead to a death in the family during the year.
    • Eating black-eyed peas will bring both good luck and money.
    • Dancing in the open air (especially around a tree) will ensure luck in love, prosperity and health throughout the year.
    • Wear something new to increase the likelihood of more new garments during the year. If you wear something red, you’ll have happiness all the year round.
    • Do not pay back loans or lend money or other precious items on New Year’s Day. To do so is to guarantee you’ll be paying out all year.
    • A token amount of work on first day of the year means advancement in your career but starting a serious work project is very unlucky.
    • Handle things with care; if you break anything on the first day, you’ll face a year of wreckage.
    • Be of good cheer. Crying on the first day ensures a year filled with sadness.

    Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2008. Happy New Year!

    Photo from Oriental Trading Company

    Snopes: New Year’s Superstitions
    IndoBase: New Year’s Superstitions
    Old Superstitions: New Year’s Customs
    Oriental Trading Company: New Year’s 2008 Rubber Duckies

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