English New Year Superstitions

At Christmas parties in the country the young men have the privilege of kissing any of the opposite sex they can got hold of.When Sir Roger de Coverly is danced the chief guests are expected to dance with the cook and butler.

All peacock feathers must be thrown out before New Year’s Day, or else you will have ill-luck.

On New Year’s Eve you must take pieces of money, bread, wood, and coal, and a little salt, and tie them up in a bundle, and lay on the doorstep after twelve o’clock. Someone will then come, and you must ask his name. If he says “John Smith ” he must not be admitted, because the initial letters of his name are curved; but if he says ” Edward Thompson,” admit him at once, as his initial-letters are made up of straight lines; but he must bring the bundle in with him that was laid on the step. He must then wish you a happy New Year, and, after receiving a gift, pass out by the back door. Then, behold, good luck is yours for another year.

On both Christmas and Now Year’s Eves, when the clock begins to strike twelve, the doors —especially the front and back— are opened, that the bad spirits may pass out and the good ones pass in, and immediately the clock has struck twelve the doors are shut, as it is said, “to keep the good spirits in.”

The first person to enter the house on a New Year’s morning must be a man.

Many Holderness folks tell some little chap to be ready to come in as soon as the old year is dead, and so secure good luck to the household.

When the master enters his house for the first time in the New Year, he must take something in which he did not take out.

A Hull friend told me he always emptied his pockets before lie left home on New Year’s morning, and put in some money and bread which he procured at his mother’s, and so reached his home armed with the necessaries of life.

Some people place a sixpence on the doorstep on New Year’s Eve, and so soon as the clock strikes it is brought in. N.B.—This, I need hardly say, is done in the country!

You must never go out on New Year’s Day until someone has come in, is the rule in some parts.

Source: Skegness Herald 1888



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