Human beings are a superstitious lot. We have weird superstitions for certain days, certain numbers, certain animals, certain actions, and everything in between. So, it should come as no surprise that New Year’s is steeped in Superstition as well. You may laugh but how many of you have celebrated the New Year’s kiss, Made a New Year’s resolution, blew on a noise maker, or Drank Champagne? Well then you partook in a long withstanding New Year’s superstition.
These weird superstitions are compounded by the fact that people can’t even agree when the change occurs. The new year has been celebrated on January 1st, March 1st, March 25th (the Feast of the Annunciation), Easter (March – May), Rosh Hashanah (October), Chinese new year (February), and countless others. Why is the standard New Year January 1st? Most likely due to the winter solstice having the shortest day of the year. It seems a logical starting point for the year and the countdown to spring. Although there is no real way to know why it was changed, you can thank the Romans for moving the date from March to January. In fact January is named after Janus – The God of ending and beginnings.
With new beginnings comes the hope for good luck and, conversely, the warding of bad luck. As you’ve probably noticed, whenever there is luck involved, there is superstition right around the corner.
So here are just a few of the many many superstitions that surround the beginning of the new year. Some of them could be a good premise for a horror movie. If you practice them it’s quite all right but maybe by acknowledging them and understanding why they are practiced you can hold them as just as quirky fun traditions.
No sweeping or dusting – Sounding more like a reason to slack off, sweeping New Years is seen as having the potential of sweeping away good luck.
No Laundry – While we aren’t cleaning let’s not clean our clothes. Doing laundry on the 1st is sometimes seen as “washing a loved one away” in the coming year. This one actually leads right into the next one.
Wear New Clothes – Hey an excuse to shop! You want to look your best but wearing new clothes is thought to ensure your general well being in the coming year as well as plentiful garments. But be careful! If you change you undergarments on New Years it can cause boils.
Either be successful at work or don’t go – In fact it’s best not to go to work at all because, while it is good luck to be successful at work on the 1st it is bad luck to have a bad or mediocre day at work. In fact, best to avoid any real work at all that day.
Make lots of noise – It is widely believed that evil spirits hate loud noises. So blow those horns, light fireworks, and have loud parties until the wee hours of the night… Oh and lemons. Hang lemons around as it will keep good energy flowing. While you are at it…
Open All The Doors and Windows – Opening all the doors and windows will ensure the old year can safely exit so that the new year can come in.
Put gold rings in you champagne – This is thought to be symbolic of “Drinking up your wealth”. But why stop there? After you drink, hop three times, don’t spill any Champagne, and then pour it over your shoulder so you can let go of the past.
While we are on the subject of ingesting… FOOD!
Eat Lots of Food – Eating plentifully will ensure your year will be plentiful but watch what you eat as certain foods are unlucky. Donuts, sausage, polenta and lentils, Grapes, raisins, cured pork, boiled cod, and stewed kale are all good luck but do not eat chicken! Chicken will bring poverty.
Paint your door red, burn your Christmas trees, throw furniture out the windows, throw water, avoid crying cats, and don’t cry yourself! The superstitions go on and on. Each locale, ethnicity, and family has their own idiosyncratic traditions. Overall, it’s human nature to want health, wealth, safety, and good fortune to follow you throughout the year. So that is what we at Dreaded Dominions wish you for the coming New Year:
May your lives be filled with happiness, love, and laughter however you celebrate. Oh and Happy New Fear!