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New Year's Day Traditions and Superstitions

What to Eat, Wear and Do for Good Luck on January 1st

When it comes to celebrating the New Year, every country and every culture has its unique routines and charms to influence the incoming year. They’re believed to bring into the New Year good fortune, health, prosperity, and love.

New Year’s Eve traditions and superstitions have been a part of human celebrations in all cultures since the beginning of the proverbial race. Whether superstitions first showed up as a deep-seated need to make sense of the world around us, or whether it was to control the world around us isn’t important. What is important is the curiosity, hope, laughter, and family unity that traditions undoubtedly bring to every family from every culture.

Below is a conglomeration of rules, rituals and beliefs from all over the world that are certain to christen the New Year as the best year yet:

What to Eat to Bring Good Luck

    * Black-eyed peas and lentils eaten on New Year’s Day are said to bring riches and safety to the coming year.
    * Eat 12 grapes, one grape for each month of the year, for prosperity.
    * Eating pork on New Year’s Day is lucky because pigs eat moving forward. Therefore, those who eat pork will move forward in the coming year.

What to Wear to Bring Good Luck

    * Wear something new on January 1st. It encourages more new clothing to follow.
    * Wear red underwear on New Year’s Eve to bring luck.
    * Wear red clothing on New Year’s Day.

What to Do on New Year’s Eve

    * Every door and window should be left open at midnight on to let the old year out.
    * Make lots of noise at the stroke of midnight. Evil spirits attempt to come into the brand new year at this time – horns and whistles chase them away.
    * Dancing around a tree (especially outside) ensures luck, love, and prosperity.
    * There should be money in your pocket at the stroke of midnight.
    * The pantry should be stocked as well.
    * Kissing your spouse or significant other at midnight ensures that you will remain intimate with that person. To not kiss means a cold relationship for the year.
    * A woman shouldn’t speak until a man says “Happy New Year.”

What to Do on New Year’s Day

    * A first-footer is the first person through the door after the stroke of midnight. This person should be a good-looking, dark-haired man. He has to knock and be let in – not use a key to enter. He would ideally be carrying a piece of coal (the house will always be warm), bread (the household will always have food), money (obvious), and greenery (for long life). The first-footer brings extra luck if he happens to have a high in-step, or comes on a horse.
    * Do something you are good or successful at on New Year’s Day – especially if it’s work related. This will tell how the rest of the New Year will go.
    * Any baby born on New Year’s Day has good luck the rest of his/her life. The baby also brings good luck to the family.
    * Nothing goes out – not even the garbage. The flip version of this rule is that nothing goes out until something new comes in.
    * No money should be spent (that would be going out).
    * No sweeping or dusting the first day of the year. The good luck could be swept out. If you have to sweep, you should sweep towards the center of the house and use a dust pan. (Some cultures “sweep out” the old year.)
    * No crying January 1st or you will be crying all year long.

Our ancestors have always known that the moment of the freshly born New Year is the best time to renew hope for a new beginning. This New Year’s Eve adopt some of these traditions and avoid the superstitions to bring luck into your New Year.

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