New Year’s Day is perhaps one of the most important days of the year, and not just because it gives you license to party until you pass out. It’s necessary because it’s the one day in the year where it’s difficult not to feel an overwhelming sense of hope. So maybe this past year wasn’t everything you wanted it to be, but today it seems like there are 365 chances coming up to turn it all around, and that’s an important feeling to be able to have. It’s no surprise that a number of rituals and superstitions have cropped up around this day to ensure the new year starts off on the right note.
We here at LC aren’t a superstitious lot, per se, but you still won’t find us opening umbrellas in the office willy-nilly. It’s not wise to tempt fate, after all. Positive cosmic intervention can be desirable, though, so in the spirit of the new year, here are a few superstitions that vow to make 2014 the best year it can be. We’re not promising anything, mind you, but it can’t hurt to try, right?
First-footing: This tradition hailing from the Scottish Highlands refers to visiting people’s homes just after the clocks strike midnight, to wish them a happy new year and to bring gifts. Apparently, the first person to cross the threshold of your home will dictate the kind of year its inhabitants are likely to have. The ideal first-footer is a tall, good-looking, dark-haired man bearing a small gift like a coin or flowers. This will ensure good fortune and luck for the household. Beware of redheads, blondes, people who are flat-footed or cross-eyed, and women; sexist and discriminatory as this tradition may be, if any of these people are the first to enter your home, disaster is sure to follow in with them. Make sure the first-footer knocks and doesn’t let himself in, even if he lives there.
Eating grapes: This Spanish tradition requires that you eat a grape for every chime of the clock at midnight, while making a wish for the new year as you swallow each one. If you time it correctly so that you finish right as the clock strikes its last chime, your wishes are bound to come true. It’s important that the grapes be red (red being a color of good fortune), and that they be plucked from the stem individually. It’s a good idea to prepare the bunches beforehand.
Making noise: Hullabaloo-ing when the clocks strike twelve isn’t just to show our excitement for the upcoming year. According to legend, evil spirits and the devil himself despise loud noises and will flee from them. Hold your own mini-exorcism by screaming at the top of your lungs and making an all-around, general commotion at midnight.
Wearing new clothes: According to this superstition, donning a new piece of clothing on January 1st, even if it’s just a pair of new socks (as one of our very own Clevers can attest to doing), will make you more likely to receive new clothes in the new year. Brand new wardrobe? Count us in.
Opening doors and windows: Ever heard of the saying “Out with the old, in with the new”? This definitely applies to the new year. At midnight, fling open all the doors and windows you can. This will expedite the old year’s escape into the night, which must happen if you want the new year to take its place.
Dancing: Frolicking out in the open air, especially around a tree, on New Year’s Day will ensure that you will be lucky in affairs of the heart, have good health, and enjoy financial prosperity all year long. Throwing brand-new dollar bills into the air at midnight (get these from your local bank) and dancing on them as they fall to the ground will mean no financial worries for the next twelve months. In the words of Riri, throw it up, throw it up!
Looking out your bedroom window: If on New Year’s Day, you wake up and look out your bedroom window, and happen to see a man walking by, rejoice! According to this superstition, you’ll get a marriage proposal before the end of the year. Whether you accept or not, of course, is all up to you.
Kissing at midnight: Perhaps the most well-known ritual/superstition, locking lips with your significant other at midnight will ensure that the upcoming year is full of love and warmth not only from that lucky person, but from all your loved ones, both the ones you have now and the ones you are destined to meet throughout the course of the new year. If you’re single, grab your closest friend and pucker up; love is love and we can all use more of it!
Here are a few things to avoid (just in case):
Cleaning: Do all your cleaning before January 1st and stay away from brooms, or you’ll sweep all the good luck from your house. On the day of, don’t wash dishes or do laundry. You’ll run the risk of “washing away” good fortune, and you’ll also wash away the health of one of your loved ones, resulting in that person’s death. Yikes- this one’s super morbid.
Getting rid of stuff: Nothing can leave the house before something comes in, or else that’ll set the tone for the year. This includes money, so if you owe somebody something (student loans and mortgages notwithstanding), try to get that sorted out before the new year arrives.
Crying: Keep a stiff upper lip. Crying on New Year’s Day will ensure a year of misery and sadness.
Whether or not you adhere to any of these superstitions this coming New Year’s Eve and Day, the authors at LC would like to wish you readers a truly wonderful 2014. May the upcoming year be filled with love, success, happiness and prosperity for you and all of your loved ones. From our family to yours: Happy New Year’s!