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Pagan Calendar - Superstition and Lore of New Years

Besides getting sloppy drunk and kissing everybody in the room at the stroke of midnight, celebrants throughout the ages have observed numerous lesser-known New Year's customs and superstitions. Many of the superstitions associated with the event bear the common theme that activities engaged in on that day set the pattern for the year to come. Others have to do with warding off evil spirits or attracting luck.

Because January 1 is the first day of the new year, we have drawn a connection between what we do on that day and our fate throughout the rest of the year. What follows are some of the ways we attempt to guarantee a good outcome through our acts on that portentous first day:
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January Babies

Babies born on New Year's Day will always have luck on their side.
Some people say the weather pattern for the year is determined by the early hours of New Year's Day. Others believe that the first 12 days in January determine the weather patterns for the rest of the year.

According to tradition the entire house should be cleaned before New Year's Day and all brooms, brushes, dusters, dust pans and other cleaning material put away. Sweeping should not be done on New Year's Day for fear that good fortune be swept away. But be careful, if you sweep dirt over the threshold, you'll sweep one family member away.

To sweep the dust of your house by the front entrance is to sweep away good fortune.

The old people say that if you have a visitor who is reluctant to leave when it's time for him to leave, then you turn a broom upide down and place it in a corner of the house. In that way the visitor will take his immediate exit.

On the stroke of midnight it's traditional to leave doors and windows open to allow the Old Year to go out.

Kissing at midnight:   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.

There is another tradition that whatever you do on New Year's Day, there will a continuity on that action throughout the year. For example: If you cry on New Year's Day then you'll cry for the rest of the year. If you drink rum, then know what to expect .

Wear something new on January 1 to increase the likelihood of your receiving more new garments during the year to follow. Red clothing is preferred during the festive season since red is considered a happy colour and is sure to attract for the wearer a brighter future.

For the New Year it is important for one to refrain from using foul language and speaking in negative terms. Ghost stories are taboo and conversations on death should be avoided.

It is important to choose the most auspicious time to visit others on New Year's Day. The first person one meets and the first words heard are significant as to what the fortunes could be for the rest of the year.

It is considered unlucky to greet anyone in their bedroom, even the sick should get dressed and made to sit in the living room.

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.

The new year should not be begun with the household in debt, so checks should be written and mailed off prior to January 1st. Likewise, personal debts should be settled before the New Year arrives. 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.

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.

Avoid breaking items on New Year's Day since "wreckage" might follow you.

Making loud noises, as is customary in this country, at midnight is not only a celebration; it's a means of scaring away evil spirits.  This is because it is a widespread belief that evil spirits and the Devil himself hate loud noise, so make as much noise as possible at midnight. You're not just celebrating; you're scaring away evil spirits, so do a darned good job of it!

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. The idea being that the year must begin with something 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 set 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.

Letting the Old Year Out:   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.

Foods to eat and not to eat on New Years:

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 financial good fortune in particular to the one doing the dining. Some choose to add other Southern fare (such as ham hocks, collard greens, or cabbage) to this tradition, but the black-eyed peas are key.

Other "lucky" foods are lentil soup (because lentils supposedly look like coins), pork (because poultry scratches backwards, a cow stands still, but a pig roots forward, ergo those who dine upon pork will be moving forward in the new year), and sauerkraut (probably because it goes so well with pork).

Another oft-repeated belief holds that one must not eat chicken or turkey on the first day of the year lest, like the birds in question, diners fate themselves to scratch in the dirt all year for their dinner (that is, bring poverty upon themselves).

Auld Lang Syne

This poem by Robert Burns is traditionally used to celebrate the start of the New Year at the stroke of midnight.

Here are the words:

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup !
and surely I’ll buy mine !
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.


We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine† ;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give me a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.


English translation (minimalist)
Source: Wikipedia
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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 disaster.

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.
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