New Year’s traditions and superstitions

New Year's is steeped in tradition and superstition.

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DELRAY BEACH, Fla,, Dec. 31, 2015 – Numerous traditions and superstitions surround New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Most Americans are familiar with the kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve. The reason for the midnight kiss is to bring good luck to the relationship for the next year.

If you do not kiss the one you love at midnight, superstition says your upcoming year will lack affection.

Many people follow traditions of prosperty for the New Year. Pork is a lucky food for New Year’s day because pigs root forward when they eat. On the other hand, eating poultry brings poverty, suggesting the diner will have to scratch in the dirt like chicken for money all year.  Southerners believe eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day brings fortune, while others believe lentil soup is lucky. A full pantry on New Year’s Day invites prosperity, while carrying debt into the New Year means poverty.

“First Footing,” a superstition many places around the world, means that the first person to enter the home after midnight will determine the type of year the dwellers are going to have.  The best luck comes to homes whose “first footer” – the first person to arrive after midnight – is tall, dark and handsome. The superstition specifically states it should be a tall male with dark hair who is handsome and, ideally, brings gifts. A blond or redhead will bring bad luck, and a female “first footer” spells disaster. An additional rule warns that the first-footer should not be cross-eyed or have a unibrow.

Myth Trivia: Some New Year’s Revelations for 2016

There are contradictory beliefs about work. On the one hand, it is lucky to accomplish something related to your career on New Year’s Day, to set the stage for the rest of the year. On the other hand, too much work on the first of the year is unlucky. Washing, including dishes or clothes, could lead to the death of a family member in the new year.

Nothing is to leave the house on New Year’s Day, according to some traditions. People can come and go, but possessions cannot leave the house. Even garbage must remain inside until the second day of the year. An adjustment to this tradition is allowing things to leave the house only when another item comes in.

Some families list regrets from the previous year and burn them at midnight to erase them forever. They also write wishes for the next year on a piece of paper and “plant” them in the ground so they will grow.

Brazilians often wear blue skirts and white blouses and launch a boat laden with flowers to celebrate the goddess of water; Buddhists squirt water on each other as ceremonial cleansing; the Dutch burn Christmas trees to  drive out spirits of the old year; South Africans ring bells and fire guns; in Taiwan, they thank ancestors for blessings and protection.

However you spend your New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, be safe, happy and prosperous!

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Lisa M. Ruth
Lisa M. Ruth is Editor-in-Chief of CDN. In addition to her editing and leadership duties, she also writes on international events, intelligence, and other topics. She has worked with CDN as a journalist since 2009. Lisa is also President of CTC International Group, Inc., a research and analysis firm in South Florida, providing actionable intelligence to decisionmakers. She started her career at the CIA, where she won several distinguished awards for her service. She holds an MA in international relations from the University of Virginia, and a BA in international relations from George Mason University. She also serves as Chairman of the Board of Horses Healing Hearts, and is involved with several other charitable organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and AYSO.