Christmas Superstitions


Mistletoe should never be brought into the home before New Years Eve. It’s unlucky to take down mistletoe used as a Christmas decoration. Therefore, the dead piece of twig is supposed to stay there until next Christmas when it is replaced. When the old piece was taken down, it then had to be burnt by an unmarried girl or else those who kissed beneath it would become enemies.

On Christmas morning the first person down the stairs must quickly open the front door and sweep trouble out the door.

At midnight on Christmas Eve,  all water turns to wine, cattle kneel facing toward the East, horses kneel and blow as if to warm the manger, animals can speak but it is bad for a human to hear them, and the bees hum the Hundredth Psalm.

If you can find a kneeling donkey on Christmas Eve, and make the sign of the cross on its back, you will get your heart’s desire.

The Irish believe that the gates of heaven open at midnight on Christmas Eve. Those who die at that time go straight through without having to wait in purgatory.

Hay carried around a church three times on Christmas Eve was said to ensure that cattle would fatten easier on less feed in the year to come.

The weather on each of the twelve days of Christmas signifies what the weather will be on the appropriate month of the coming year.

There is a game in Germany where they blindfold a goose. The girls make a circle around the goose and whoever it touches first will be the first to get married.

Place a branch of a cherry tree in water at the beginning of advent. It will bring luck if it flowers by Christmas.

Tie wet bands of straw around fruit trees to make them fruitful, or tie a stone to a branch on Christmas Eve.

Nothing sown on Christmas Eve will perish, even if the seed is sown in the snow.

Never launder a Christmas present before giving it to its recipient as this takes out the good luck.

To avoid toothaches and fevers in the coming year, tradition says you should bathe on Christmas Day.

Christmas Food Superstitions:

  • If you carry in your pocket a scale from a fish eaten at Christmas, your purse will be full all year.
  • A loaf of bread left on the table after Christmas Eve dinner will ensure no lack of bread for the next year.
  • If an apple is eaten at midnight on Christmas Eve, good health will follow for a year.
  • One portion of the Christmas cake must be saved for Christmas day, and one for New Year’s or bad luck will come the following year.
  • Christmas cake must also not be cut before Christmas Eve.
  • Stirring Christmas pudding will bring you good luck, a wish, and if you are a female a husband within the year.
  • As many pies as your try at different homes will be the number of happy months to come. Cutting the pie you eat yourself however is bad luck.
  • You will have as many happy months in the coming year, as the number of houses you eat mince pies in during Christmastime. It’s bad luck if you cut the pie yourself.

Christmas Birthday

  • It is considered very lucky to be born on Christmas Eve or Christmas day in most countries.
  • In Greece the child born on Christmas is feared to be a Kallikantzaroi or a wandering spirit.
  • In Poland the child may turn out to be a werewolf.
  • People born on Christmas are considered either fortunate, as they supposedly cannot be drowned or hanged, or unfortunate, because they are more likely to be able to see ghosts and spirits.
  • Those who are born on Christmas Eve turn into ghosts on that day every year while they sleep. If you were born on Christmas Eve and don’t want to have this happen to you, the remedy is to count the holes in a sieve from 11 o’clock on Christmas Eve until morning.

Christmas Superstitions About Shoes:

  • You should never give shoes as a Christmas gift as you are giving the recipient the means to walk away from you.
  • You should burn your old shoes during the Christmas season in Greece to prevent misfortunes in the coming year.
  • An English superstition says that if you don’t give a pair of shoes to a poor person at least once in your lifetime, you will enter the next world barefoot. This leads to an influx of shoes being donated to charity shops at Christmas time.
  • An unmarried girl throws a shoe over her shoulder towards a door at Christmas. If it lands with the toes pointing towards the door, she will marry within the next year.
  • To prevent quarrelling on Christmas day family members must place their shoes side by side Christmas Eve. It is bad luck to test this Christmas superstition!

Christmas Candles – It’s unlucky to light a Yule Candle before super on Christmas. It’s also unlucky to buy your own Yule candle or to snuff it before Christmas Eve ends, it should be left to burn itself out. If the candle is disturbed or snuffed out, back luck will befall the household. A portion of the candle should be kept to light the following years candle for good luck. A candle or lamp must be burned all night on Christmas Eve or there will be a death in the home. A steady flame is said to indicate a happy marriage and wedded bliss, a spluttering flame meant a bad tempered husband and a tempestuous relationship.

Good luck on Christmas:

  • The first person to hear the rooster crow on Christmas Day is assured of good luck (and, in Ireland, is due a cup of whiskey or tea).
  • wishing someone a Merry Christmas before putting on your socks and shoes,
  • sneezing
  • eating breakfast by candlelight,
  • hearing a cricket chirp,
  • kissing the oldest person in the house,
  • giving coins to a beggar
  • stirring the Christmas pudding.
  • The first person to open the door on Christmas will have good luck.

Bad Luck on Christmas:

  • Singing Christmas carols at any time other than during the festive season is unlucky.
  • Wearing a new pair of shoes on Christmas day is said to bring unprecedented bad luck.
  • picking up nuts or fruit from the ground
  • leaving the dinner table before everyone has finished
  • sending carolers away without giving them any money
  • being the first one home from church
  • carrying a spinning wheel from one side of the house to another
  • stepping on cotton thread
  • receiving a present of new shoes or tanned leather
  • If you eat nuts without honey on Christmas Day, you will lose your teeth.
  • On Christmas Eve it is unlucky to spin or sew, to grind grain, or to leave the dishes unwashed.
  • It is bad luck to let any fire go out in your house during the Christmas season. The fire in your fireplace must continue to burn for the twelve days of Christmas.
  • If you do not eat plum pudding during the season, you will have bad luck for a year.
  • If you refuse mince pie at Christmas dinner, you will have bad luck for a year.

A Season of Predictions
Snow on Christmas means Easter will be green.

Whatever you dream on any of the 12 nights between Christmas and Epiphany (Jan. 6) will come to pass within the next year. The weather for the whole year is also determined during this time: as the weather is on each of these days, so will it be on the corresponding month of the following year. If you really want to know the rainfall for the next year, you can hollow out 12 onions, putting salt into each. Each onion is named after a month of the year, and there will be rain in every month where the salt in that onion is wet. And if Christmas Day falls on a Thursday, the following year will be windy.

To predict the next year’s harvest, count the stars on Christmas Eve, and there will be as many sheaves as you have counted stars. If the sun shines through the limbs of the apple trees on Christmas Day, there will be a good crop of fruit next year. But if there’s a full moon on Christmas, the following harvest will be scanty.

At Christmas women can also predict the course of their love life (not many spouse-finding superstitions work for men). Young women who go out and hit pigs with a stick at Christmas can tell the age of their husbands-to-be: if the first pig that squeals is old, that means an old husband; a squealing young pig equals a young husband. If there’s a henhouse handy, a woman can knock on its door between 11 and 12 on Christmas night. If a rooster answers her knock, she will be married, but if her knocking is followed by silence, she will never marry. Looking into a well on Christmas Eve will show the destined husband – the same can be determined by throwing a ball of yarn in the air at midnight on Christmas Eve; the arrangement of the yarn on the ground will look like the future husband’s face. If you’re unmarried and no one kisses you under the mistletoe at Christmas, you won’t marry during the following year.

The last day to indulge your Christmastime superstition is Candlemas (Feb. 2). Christmas decorations must be entirely taken down before the twelfth night after Christmas or goblins and bad luck will come. But be careful what you burn: it’s unlucky to burn Christmas greenery (except for mistletoe). Every leaf left up after Candlemas will result in either a goblin seen or a death in the house during the year.

Superstitions About Christmas Trees (from this article)
Long before anyone set up the first Christmas tree, people brought winter greenery into their homes. The superstition was that if you forgot this custom, spring might forget to return next season! Of course, that’s not the only magic of the tree: winter greenery is thought to keep away witches, spirits, and other evil forces.

People would actually decorate greenery long before Christmas superstitions came about, but they’d decorate the bushes outside their homes. Why? Because they figured those evil spirits were looking for shelter and they didn’t want them moving into their homes.

In Europe, the Christmas tree should never be brought into the house before Christmas Eve. Any trees in the house before then were thought to have evil spirits hiding in them to invade the households. The trees that were left outdoors until Christmas Eve were purified by the holy night.

There are enough Christmas superstitions about the Yule log to fill their own book — but one of the sweetest says that if you want good luck, you should cut the Yule log from this year’s tree and let it cure until next Christmas. Of course, if you let that log go out during the twelve days of Christmas you’re ruined: bad luck for the rest of the year. Keep adding wood but make sure a section of the original Yule log keeps burning. The yule log should be lit by a piece of the log used on the previous Christmas. Once that is done, no evil spirit can then enter into the house. The remains of the Yule log were also considered lucky, and would be a protection against lightning or fire.

In the Netherlands they take a fir stick and thrust it into the fire and let it burn partially. They put it under the bed. This serves as lightening protection.

The original candles were placed on trees to frighten away the devil and evil spirits long before the tree was called a “Christmas tree.” Romans started this tradition, and they took it a step further by attaching pieces of metal so the added reflections would further terrify those evil presences.

If you’ve ever seen apple decorations on a tree, you probably didn’t realize they were part of Christmas superstitions. In the eleventh century, before the official “Christmas tree” as we know it, people would decorate trees with apples on Christmas eve to encourage luck and plenty in the coming year.

A Christmas tree should never be thrown out doors or it will attract evil spirits and goblins. Christmas trees should be burned.

Failing to decorate a Christmas Tree will cause spring to never come, but bad luck and evil spirits instead.

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