There are a few old traditions that I do at the end of each year to start the new year off right…well, at least in a way that feels right to me.
On New Years Eve
- I give myself the gift of a new broom every year. (I also love to give new brooms to newlyweds and those who are moving to new homes.) Then just before midnight on December 31, I open the windows and doors of my home and with my new broom I sweep out the old year. As the fireworks and bells go off in my little town letting me know that January 1st has arrived, I invite the new year in. I’ve been doing this for so long now I can’t even remember where I learned about it.
- Write down the things you don’t want to carry into the new year and then burn them into a puff of smoke in the fire place at 11:50.
- Perhaps you will want to do a first footing tonight. It’s also called Hogmanay.
1. Find an appropriate candidate to be the First Foot. Traditionally, the “luckiest” person to enter a house in the new year is a tall, dark-haired person. If you have a friend or family member fitting that description, ask them to participate. If they’re not considerably tall or their hair is medium-dark, that’s OK, too.
2. Assemble gifts for the First Foot to bring into the house. These generally include small items that represent the wishes for the new year.
- a piece of coal, or in my case the stick of wood that I saved from last year’s Christmas Tree, for a warm hearth
- bread and salt for all in the house to be fed adequately
- a coin for financial prosperity
- and a drink (commonly whiskey) to represent good cheer
3. Send your First Foot outside before the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Since this can mean being somewhat excluded from the first hoorays and “Happy New Year’s!” wishes, you can find a loophole and have everyone else standing inside with the door open and your First Foot outside when midnight strikes. The First Foot may also be accompanied by others (a group could go outside), as long as he is the first to step over the threshold after midnight and some people are inside to open the door.
4. Have your First Foot knock on the door after midnight. Three knocks are traditional, but they can knock however they please.
5. Open the door for the First Foot.
6. Have your First Foot step over the threshold with “A Happy New Year and Good Tidings to you and yours.” The First Foot will then hand the gifts to the keeper of the household and accept a drink (typically whiskey) from them to toast with them. All guests may have their glasses filled beforehand to join in the toast, traditionally “Slaínte!” It is considered unlucky to either not offer the First Foot a drink or for them to decline it. If your First Foot does not drink alcohol, offer a different beverage instead. This is symbolic of accepting blessings and “inviting good luck to stay.”
7. Continue your celebration however you see fit.
For New Year’s Day
- Put a new penny in your pocket and those of your children for wealth in the New Year.
- January 1 is a good day to change all your passwords.
You probably have your own special traditions but here two that friends have told me about:
- In Italy wear red underpants (although some say pink) and eat lentils for good luck
- Eat long grain rice for long life
A New Year’s Resolution
My New Years Resolution for 2016 was: To Be Happy
My New Years Resolution for 2017 is: To Be Even Happier!
Hap-PIE New Years, My Friends!
Here’s a little tune to help us dance our way into the New Year!