Top 15 New Year’s Superstitions From Around the World
There is a wide variety of New Year’s superstitions gathered from all around the world, some of which may baffle you. Superstitions about New Year commonly predicts the state of a forthcoming year. They supposedly dictate a series of events that are no more than a probability. They honor ancient traditions and are tied to cultural practices of old. Superstitions are either associated with activities, lucky charms or something to do with keeping away evil spirits. Here are some commonly believed and practiced superstitions:
1. Superstitions on Fireworks
Fireworks at night are a beautiful sight when they light up the night. They are popular all over the world. They can be seen from rooftops as the clock strikes midnight on New Year. Most countries cannot do without them while ushering in the New Year. However, most people do not know the superstition that lies behind this festive tradition.
A number of superstitions emanate from Chinese traditions. The Chinese New Year is also called the Spring Festival. In ancient times, the Chinese used fireworks to chase away evil spirits. Word has it that there once lived a monster named Nian, who would eat villagers. In order to scare the monster away, the villagers threw dry bamboo into a fire, which would make explosive sounds.
Baozhu is a Chinese word that means ‘exploding bamboo’. The Tang Dynasty of China discovered that inserting gunpowder in the hollow of a dry bamboo would enhance the blasting sound when lit up. These were the very first firecrackers to be discovered. Later on, the Song Dynasty replaced bamboo with red paper tubes. The Chinese believe that red is a symbol of good luck. Therefore, after using firecrackers in their festivals and celebrations, the Chinese leave the red paper to lie around for a day. If they were to sweep away the red paper, the Chinese believe that they are sweeping away good luck.
Setting off fireworks during the Chinese New Year differs from one region to another. In some regions, the Chinese set off fireworks before dinner on New Year’s Eve. In other places, the Chinese wait until the morning of New Year to set off fireworks. Other regions do the traditional time of setting off fireworks at midnight. The Lantern Festival is a Chinese celebration that marks the end of the New Year. It is celebrated on the 16th day from New Year’s Eve. The Chinese love to use fireworks for several traditional festivals.
2. Defining a New Year Resolution
One of the most widespread superstitions in the world is that of making a New Year’s resolution. This is where an individual makes a firm decision to do or to stop doing something for the rest of the year. To define a resolution that will be too tedious or self-punishing can be at times extreme. It may go the wrong way down the year and you then have to struggle with the onset of guilt. A simple, easily achievable goal can make life easier and blot out making New Year’s resolutions as becoming superstitious in nature.
3. No Laundry
There are superstitions that are connected to washing of clothes during the New Year season. It is said that it may influence the trend of work for the rest of the year, meaning that you will experience hard labor. There is also a myth that washing clothes may mean washing away a loved one. Since no one would wish to lose anybody close, some people will leave their dirty clothes intact for as long as a week. In some societies around the world, people do not do laundry or any kind of washing from Christmas time until end of New Year.
4. New Clothes for New Year
Besides dressing up for the occasion, when you wear new clothes you feel good. New clothes are charms that boost self-esteem. New Year superstitions based on looking your best is probably good for those who seek confidence to face new challenges that lie ahead. The confidence derived from the new clothes sets the pace for the entire year. To others, it is a notion that they will always get new clothes throughout the year.
There are varied superstitions about eating certain types of food in different parts of the world. In the United States, they eat black-eyed peas to attract good luck and money. In the Southern states, they eat cabbage, collard greens, kale or spinach and even cornbread to attract money.
Sometimes good luck charms are hidden in food. In Greek tradition, a coin is hidden inside a baked lemon flavored cake called vasilopita. Whosoever gets the piece with the coin is followed by good luck all year round.
In several parts of the world, people avoid eating chicken. There are superstitions that chickens tend to scratch about, which is a sign of poverty. The chicken scratches backward and this coincides with throwing away good fortune. Pork is usually the preferred meat. A pig will eat plenty and only moves forward while looking for food. This is significant of gaining plentiful wealth and prosperity.
In many parts of the world, drinking some sparkling wine is the centerpiece of celebration at the midnight hour of New Year. This is similar to eating 12 grapes as is done in Spain. To eat one grape every hour leading up to 12 o’clock to ensures good luck for each month of the year ahead.
Generally, stocking up food in the house on New Year is common practice around the world for good luck. This goes hand-in-hand with over-indulging in food and drink to attract health for the whole year.
6. Choice of Work
The choice of work will determine your job or employment situation the rest of the year. It is among the common superstitions all over the world. People tend to limit activities and most may become couch potatoes during the New Year festive season. However, in places like Hawaii, there are superstitions that you do not sweep the house or else you sweep away fortune.
7. First Visitor
A phenomenal superstition is the one of the first visitor to enter your home. It is believed that the first visitor of the year should have some specific attributes in height and appearance. The person should bear a gift such as food and wine. He must enter the house before anybody leaves. A first visitor should never be a woman or else this could bring bad luck. In order to perform this superstition, it is normal to have secretly appointed an appropriate person for this cause. The appointed first visitor should then stay out until midnight and then come after the hour. He should leave the house via a different door after leaving the gifts.
8. Do Not Dispose a Thing
Some superstitions are rather challenging. For those who believe in this, it may deem almost impractical. This superstition dictates that not even trash or dust should leave the parameters of your house. To make the rule flexible, some may bring items into the house first before removing any other item. Others may even tie a string to a basket full of gifts and leave it outside. Then on New Year’s morning, haul it into the house by the string.
9. The Midnight Kiss
If you kiss someone at midnight, you will always be surrounded by love and affection. The superstition lasts only a minute but it brings in the charms for a year of love attraction. It is a good a thing to only kiss a person that matters to you or otherwise you may carry a quite the opposite mood into the year.
10. Debt Settlement
It is a superstition that all debts be paid and settled by January 1 of the New Year. By doing this, you start the New Year with a clean financial record. You may also avoid taking a loan on this date as this may prompt your finances to slip away during the year. It is said that you should not lend money or precious items, but keep wallets and purses full of money. Money is even kept in underwear and bras as good luck charms to attract more money.
11. New Year’s Weather Forecast
Some people tend to observe the weather on New Year’s Day and make conclusions on the entire weather forecast for the year. Some superstitions include:
• Dry summer- This is indicated by a calm day with no wind on New Year’s Day.
• Summer rainfall- Indicated by a calm breeze throughout the day.
• Floods- Strong winds on New Year’s Day are suggestive of floods occurring within the year.
• Wind direction- Shows possibility of calamities, famine, or bad weather. Wind direction can also be a sign of good produce. A unique superstition is that the wind may indicate the death of a prominent person within the year.
12. Lucky Colors
Some superstitions put their emphasis on adorning certain colors for ushering in the New Year. It can be from jewelry, clothing, to underwear. Yellow will address financial troubles and attracts prosperity. Blue underwear is a good luck charm and symbolizes good health. Green will make your new year better than the previous while white symbolizes a year of peace, joy, and happiness. In Brazil, white is adorned from head to toe. Pink brings love into your life while in some countries red will bring love and passion. In Italy, for instance, red underwear will make you fertile and bring luck your way. Most lucky charms identify with particular colors. In China, firecrackers are red, an indicator for good luck.
13. Doing a Kind Gesture
Doing good on New Year’s Day is one of the most significant traditions in the world. Among all other superstitions, it stands out as charitable and hospitable. It is believed in Afghanistan to bring good vibes for the forthcoming year. It is practiced in several other parts of the world where people give aid to those in need.
14. Open Doors and Windows at Midnight
Just before the clock strikes midnight, opening all doors and windows symbolizes letting out the previous year and making room for the New Year to come in. It is said that all bad things that came in during the year will flee through the exits. It is a way of ushering in goodness and blessings for the coming year.
15. Avoid the Tears
People get emotional for various reasons. While some people are more emotional than others, crying is a no-go zone during New Year in several cultural traditions. There are superstitions that crying will bring unhappiness for the rest of the year. The Japanese are strong believers of this notion and they try to keep smiling all through the New Year season.
Superstitions have a special place in the hearts of many people from all around the world. Some superstitions do not make any sense while most of them are commonly bound to one cause- The cause for luck, health, and prosperity. There is no better way to bid one year farewell and to usher in the next like going back to one’s roots. The festivities are fun and the experiences are intricate. Superstitions will continue to live on forever and even attract tourists from one part of the world to another.
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé