Friday, 1 January 2010

New Years Tradtions

Happy New Years to everyone here at Desert Breeze! We hope you have a great start to the New Year and that it’s filled with many books.

It was the ancient Romans who established that the New Year started with 1 January under Julius Caesar. In order to synch the calendar, Caesar had to let the previous year drag on for 445 days!

Since the Romans, many nations have adopted what they consider good luck rituals. The Romans themselves exchanged gifts between friends on the New Year. (I have no doubt this probably inspired our gift giving at Jesus’s birthday.)

In the United States, couples share a kiss at the stroke of midnight. This tradition comes from masked balls and it was thought that the masks people wore symbolized evil spirits from the old year. A kiss would offer purification for the New Year.

In England, the first guest of the New Year should be a male, bearing gifts – gifts should be for a fire, (wood, for example) for food, (a fruitcake!) or drink (Scottish whiskey)

In Wales, at the first stroke of midnight the back door was open than shut to let out the bad luck. At the last stroke, the front door was opened to let in the New Year with its good luck.

In Sicily, an old tradition says eating lasagna on New Years will bring you good luck. Eating any other noodle will bring you bad luck.

In Spain, eat 12 grapes to bring you luck 12 months a year. They do the same in Peru, but they eat a 13th grape to ensure good luck.

In Austria, they eat a suckling pig for good luck on New Years.

The Dutch eat donuts to bring good luck. The donut is in the shape of a circle and circles bring good luck on New Years.

Sydney, Australia celebrates the New Year with a fireworks display. It’s one of the first cities in the world to celebrate New Years.

Scotland calls its New Years “Hogmanay.” They also exchange gifts for fire and food and the Edinburgh Hogmanay is the largest in the country.

In Japan, the new year is a symbol of renewal. At midnight, Buddhist temples strike their gongs 108 times to expel 108 types of human weaknesses.

Fireworks and noisemaking on New Years have ancient origins. Fire and noise were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck.

Making resolutions have been around since the ancient Babylonians. Their most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment. Nowadays people might resolve to lose weight or quit smoking. My, how the times have changed!

Do you celebrate any of these traditions? Do you have any you’d like to share? My husband and I both work for LAPD and usually one or the other is working. This year, I am. It’s hard to establish any family traditions like that, but we did decide on making a lasagna for New Years. Ya’ gotta’ start somewhere, right? At least it’s not a suckling pig…

Enjoy the New Years!


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Classic Romance Revival

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and drop me a line on all four blogs by 3 JAN at midnight PST and be entered to win a GC for Desert Breeze Publishing. I’ll announce the winner on 4 Jan.


  1. The one tradition my mother makes me follow and that a male must be the first person to cross my threshold in the new year. It's supposed to bring me luck!

    Tracey D

  2. Great post, Steph! How did you find the time to do all that research? Beautiful picture, too. Happy New Year!

  3. Hi Steph - another fascinating blog!

    I know 'first footing' - that's a tradition where folk go from house to house at New year's eve, getting invited in and usually drinking quite a bit! A lot of fun, though!

  4. The tradition in the south is to eat black eyed peas on January 1 and also to eat pork (because hogs root ahead instead of scratching back as a chicken does.

    Maggie Toussaint

  5. Hi everyone! It's great to see you here at the DB Blog!

    Tracey and Lindsay, that tradition sounds kinda cool. Maggie, I heard about that tradition as well.

    Liana, it took a bit, but I had fun researching the holiday. I'm glad to see you pop in!


  6. Great post Steph I love the DB Blog and I have put your books on my must read list

    Walk in harmony,

  7. Melinda it was great to see you pop in. I'll be announcing my winner shortly.


  8. Congrats to Liana Laverentz, winner of the GC to Desert Breeze Publishing!