There is a lot of lore and superstition surrounding the New Year. What follows is an extensive listing of what NOT to do, and what to avoid at all costs on this most powerful day of the year:

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  • New Year’s day was one of ill omen to the ancient Egyptians.
  • It is unlucky to have clothes hanging on the line when the New Year is born.
  • If a person in deep mourning pays you a call on New Year’s day, a member of your family will die before the year is out.
  • In Northern Yorkshire, people will not allow anyone to light a candle from the fire on New Year’s day, so afraid are they to “carry fire to fire.”
  • The Chinese believe a Buddhist priest to be the first to enter a house on New Year’s morning is even worse than to have a woman first enter it.
  • Burn all the visiting cards that have been received throughout the year on the first of January. If you keep them from year to year you will have bad luck.
  • If you have not provided yourself with a calendar before the New Year comes in, you will be behindhand in all your undertakings during the year. (Massachusetts.)
  • If you eat apples on New Year’s day it will produce abcesses.
  • Some people believe that if you put on clean linen on New Year’s day, you will have sores come on your skin.
  • On New Year’s day no one must utter the words that indicate death in any form, especially the word “shi” itself, lest the invitation be accepted. (Chinese.)
  • The Chinese believe it very bad luck not to pay all of his outstanding accounts on the last day of the year, and begin fresh and straight on New Year’s day.
  • If a creditor makes a disturbance in the house of a debtor on New Year’s Day it is considered a most unlucky omen for the future prosperity of the debtor. (China.)
  • It is bad luck in China to spend money the first three days of the year, except for candies and refreshments.
  • If one sneezes on New Year’s eve while preparing for bed, it is a sign of misfortune during the coming year. (China.)
  • It is a sure sign of strife and debates among the learned, and of many robberies to happen during the year, if the new year is ushered in with very red clouds.
  • A corpse in the house on New Year’s day is the sign of another death to follow soon.
  • The throwing of coal-dust or soot instead of lime before a door on New Year’s day, betokens gloom and bad luck. (Malta.)
  • When the wind blows on New Year’s night, it is a sign of pestilence.
  • “If you wash clothes on New-Year’s day, you’ll be sure to wash a friend away.”
  • It is unlucky to sow on New Year’s day.
  • Spend on New Year, spend all the year.
  • It is very unlucky to refuse a beggar anything on New Year’s day, or to refuse a request of any kind.
  • A sudden noise on New Year’s night foretells the death of an inmate.
  • To meet a priest before any other male on New Year’s day, is a sign of death during the year; if a policeman, litigation is sure to follow.
  • It is unlucky to have a flat-footed person enter the house first of any one on New Year’s day. (Folk Lore of Northern Countries.)
  • It is an omen of ill luck if a redhaired woman enters a house on New Year’s morning.
  • If the first man you speak to on New Year’s morning has his hands in his pockets, you will have a hard time getting what money you want during the year.
  • Among the Highlanders, if a black and threatening cloud appears on New Year’s eve, it is looked upon as a forerunner of some dire calamity to the country or to the family estate over which it appears to hang.
  • French flax is put on the spindle New Year’s eve in many parts of Germany. None must be spun then, as it would be bad for the year’s spinning.
  • It is unlucky to have the fire go out on New Year’s day.
  • It is unlucky to eat anything green on New Year’s day.
  • In Hesna, it is unlucky to eat an apple on New Year’s day.
  • In the rural districts of Cornwall, it is unlucky, if a female is the first to enter a house on New Year’s morning.
  • In some of the northern countries of Scotland, it is considered unlucky to enter a person’s house on New Year’s day empty.
  • In Scotland, nothing that could be washed on the last night of the year was left unclean. Even the walls were whitewashed inside, lest misfortune should fall upon the family.
  • To break a white lamp-globe on New Year’s day is a sure sign that you will experience great financial losses during the year.
  • To break a colored lamp-globe on New Year’s day is a sign of the death of a near relative during the year.
  • The Chinese think it unlucky to allude to any possible misfortune on New Year’s day.
  • It is unlucky to take ashes out of the house on New Year’s day.

And last but not least:

In Malta, a superstitious dread still attaches to some one of the family keeping absent at dinner time on New Year’s day. He who doesn’t dine with his family on New Year’s day is expected to die at the end of that same year. It is also said in Malta that he who eats hotch-potch soup on New Year’s day is to gnaw the ham bones all the rest of the year; and that those who eat cabbage on New Year’s day will groan for a whole year.

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