New Year’s Superstitions

happy-new-year-2014What you do the first hour of the New Year will be what you do most of the year.

If the first butterfly you see in the year is white, you will have good luck all year.

Changing your undershirt or underwear on New Year’s Day can cause boils.

It is believed that babies born on New Year are extremely fortunate and lucky. It is said that babies born on the first day of the New Year will have good luck in their life and bring good luck to the family they are born in.

We kiss those dearest to us at midnight not only to share a moment of celebration with our favorite people, but also to ensure those affections and ties will continue throughout the next twelve months. To fail to smooch our significant others at the stroke of twelve would be to set the stage for a year of coldness.

Make sure to do — and be successful at — something related to your work on the first day of the year, even if you don’t go near your place of employment that day. Limit your activity to a token amount, though, because to engage in a serious work project on that day is very unlucky.

At midnight, all the doors of a house must be opened to let the old year escape unimpeded. He must leave before the New Year can come in, says popular wisdom, so doors are flung open to assist him in finding his way out.

According to widespread superstition, evil spirits and the Devil himself hate loud noise. We celebrate by making as much of a din as possible not just as an expression of joy at having a new year at our disposal, but also to make sure Old Scratch and his minions don’t stick around. (Church bells are rung on a couple’s wedding day for the same reason.)

At midnight on Dec. 31, Buddhist temples strike their gongs 108 times, in a effort to expel 108 types of human weakness.

Italian people welcome the New Year in an extremely interesting way, by tossing old things out of their windows! Old things are tossed out in an effort to make room for the new and lucky to enter their households and lives in the year to come.

Eat Hoppin John, black eyed peas, for good luck on New Years Day.

Food Superstitions:

In parts of the South, it’s traditional to eat hog jowl and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day in order to bring good fortune.

The Pennsylvania Dutch eat sauerkraut to get rich.

A tradition common to the southern states of the USA dictates that the eating of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day will attract both general good luck and money in particular to the one doing the dining. Some choose to add other Southern fare to this tradition, but the black-eyed peas are key.

Also from the south comes the custom of eating greens such as cabbage, collard greens, mustard greens, kale or spinach to bring money.

One more from the Southerners: eating cornbread will bring wealth.

Hoppin’ John is a traditional New Year’s Day dish in the South. Legend has it that it must be eaten before noon to guarantee good luck.

In some families, a coin is buried in the rice and peas just before serving, ensuring a fortunate year for the finder.

Eat black eyed peas and greens (spinach will work) on New Year’s Day — the peas are for good luck, the greens are for fortune (money!).

Lucky foods which should be consumed on New Years Eve is lentil soup and pork.

Chicken should not be eaten on the first day of the year or you will have financial difficulties for the rest of the year.

Spanish Tradition: Twelve grapes are eaten at midnight, each grape symbolizing a different month. If your grapes are very sweet, then it means that specific month will also be sweet and pleasant. If your grapes turn out sour, then you know the month will also be sour, so hope that the grapes are sweet!

Pennsylvania Dutch New Year’s Superstitions:

  • To keep yourself healthy in the New Year, eat smoked sausage.
  • For good luck in the New Year, eat boiled cabbage.
  • For overall good health, wealth and happiness in the New Year, you should eat pork and sauerkraut.

Many cultures believe that anything in the shape of a ring is good luck, because it symbolizes “coming full circle,” completing a year’s cycle. For that reason, the Dutch believe that eating donuts on New Year’s Day will bring good fortune.

Cabbage is another “good luck” vegetable that is consumed on New Year’s Day by many. Cabbage leaves are also considered a sign of prosperity, being representative of paper currency.

In some regions, rice is a lucky food that is eaten on New Year’s Day.

In Greece, One of the traditional foods served is Vassilopitta, or St Basil’s cake. A silver or gold coin is baked inside the cake. Whoever finds the coin in their piece of cake will be especially lucky during the coming year.

The Italian people eat a traditional New Year dish called cotechino con lenticchie: pork sausage served over lentils. This New Year food is eaten because of the presence of fatty rich pork sausage and lentils in it. Cotechino sausage is a symbol of abundance because they are rich in fat; while lentils symbolize money (being both green and coin shaped). This New Year food promises a double-packs of luck!

Weather Conditions on New Years Day:

A windless New Year’s day indicates a dry summer;

A decent breeze foretells a good summer rain fall;

Floods will occur if the first day of the year is violently windy.

Examine the weather in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

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 calamities.

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.

House Cleaning and Household Chores:

Whatever a person does on this day will influence his activity for the rest of the year. Therefore to wash clothes will bring a year of hard
work. Washing may also cause a relative’s death.

In Tennessee, it’s said if you wash your clothes on New Year’s Day, you’ll wash someone out of your family.

From Hawaii: Don’t sweep the house on New Year’s Day.

German farmers say livestock will be safe from witches if the stables are cleaned between Christmas and the New Year.

Certain tasks were not to be done between Christmas and New Year’s Day–among them were knitting, sewing and doing the family laundry.

You clean your house before christmas and you don’t have time to clean it til after New Year’s — so no sweeping good luck out the door.

Do not wash dishes and do the laundry or there could be a death in your house that year. The theory behind it being that as you wash the dishes or laundry, you ‘wash away’ the person.

Also, do not do the laundry on New Year’s Day, lest a member of the family be ‘washed away’ (die) in the upcoming months. The more cautious eschew even washing dishes.

More New Year’s Do’s and Don’ts

To assure good luck for the New Year, one should sleep with a horseshoe under his pillow on New Year’s Eve.

All doors and windows must be opened at midnight to let out the old year. Keep doors and windows open at midnight to let the old year leave and usher in the fresh New Year.

Make lots of noise to scare away the evil spirits lurking around. People celebrate by bursting loud crackers to scare away the devils. Evil spirits hate loud noise and hence people explode fireworks and cheer aloud to send the evil spirits away. This is also the reason that church bells are rung at midnight, to ring in the New Year free from evil spirits.

It is believed that if you wear new clothes on the first day of the year, you will get many more new clothes during the year.

Do not break anything on this day as it sets the pattern for the entire year. Breaking things on this day is considered a bad omen as it signals destruction in the coming year. So be careful!

Crying on the first day of the year must be avoided. One must always be happy and in good spirits on New Year’s day. If you cry on New Years’ for a sad reason you will have sadness all throughout the year.

Stocking Up:

The new year must not be seen in with bare cupboards, lest that be the way of things for the year. Larders must be topped up and plenty of money must be placed in every wallet in the home to guarantee prosperity.

First Footing:

The first person to enter your home after the stroke of midnight 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. Blonde and redhead first footers bring bad luck, and female first footers should be shooed away before they bring disaster down on the household. Don’t let a woman near your door before a man crosses the threshold.

A southern US superstitions says that your first guest of the year is a sign of the marriage balance for the coming year. If a man walks thru the front door first on New Year’s Day then the husband has more umph for the year, if a woman, than the wife.

The first footer (sometimes called the “Lucky Bird”) should knock and be let in rather than unceremoniously use a key, even if he is one of the householders. After greeting those in the house and dropping off whatever small tokens of luck he has brought with him, he should make his way through the house and leave by a different door than the one through which he entered. No one should leave the premises before the first footer arrives — the first traffic across the threshold must be headed in rather than striking out.

First footers must not be cross-eyed or have flat feet or eyebrows that meet in the middle.

Nothing prevents the cagey householder from stationing a dark-haired man outside the home just before midnight to ensure the speedy arrival of a suitable first footer as soon as the chimes sound. If one of the partygoers is recruited for this purpose, impress upon him the need to slip out quietly just prior to the witching hour.

Nothing Goes Out:

Nothing — absolutely nothing, not even garbage — is to leave the house on the first day of the year. If you’ve presents to deliver on New Year’s Day, leave them in the car overnight. Don’t so much as shake out a rug or take the empties to the recycle bin.

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. This is similar to the caution regarding first footers; the year must begin with something’s being added to the home before anything subtracts from it.

One who lives alone might place a lucky item or two in a basket that has a string tied to it, then place the basket just outside the front door before midnight. After midnight, the lone celebrant hauls in his catch, being careful to bring the item across the door jamb by pulling the string rather than by reaching out to retrieve it and thus breaking the plane of the threshold.


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.
Keeping your purses and wallets full of money, and keeping cupboards stocked with food is said to bring prosperity and luck in the New Year.
Pay away all your debts before New Year’s Eve as the New Year should not begin with the household in debt. Clear away all your loans, bills and debts so that you do not have any debts left for New Year.

Do not also lend money or other precious items on this day as that would mean a year spent loaning out money.


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