New Year Folklore

New Year Folklore

Nearly every culture has their own rituals and customs for the New Year – by new year I will be referring to the Gregorian Calendar’s New Year. I will cover the other New Year festivities throughout the year for other cultures.

There are many modern ways to celebrate the New Year, like

* Fireworks marking the change from the Old Year to the New Year.

* Drinking something sparkling.

* Kissing the one you love at midnight.

* Singing the words you know to “Auld Lang Syne” while humming those you don’t.

* Sleeping through and not realising that something special has happened.

Okay; we don’t have many meaningful celebrations to mark the movement of one year to the next. However, over the century’s cultures from all over the world have created meaningful ways to observe the New Year.

Open Doors and Windows

As a child I was taught to open all the doors and windows to allow the old year to leave through one door, while welcoming the new year in through the other. Obviously, you will need to adapt this to your own home – if you only have 1 entrance/exit to your home, open the window furthest away from the door. As I have grown up, I have added my own flair to the ritual.

Noise, Noise and Noise

Another version of getting rid of the old year is to chase it away from your home by making as much noise as possible. It is believed that making lots of noise at midnight will drive out any lingering spirits from your home. It’s believed that pesky spirits don’t like noisy houses and will leave to find peace

Lemon Protection

I’m not sure where this tradition hails from, but from what I have found is to hang lemons on your front door on 1st January. Apparently evil spirits dislike the smell of lemons… I think it’s the smell.

The Home

This is a group of smaller traditions that have to do with your home and what enters and leaves on the first day of the year.

It’s believed that if something leaves your home on the 1st day of the year, it will be a persistent theme of the year – things leaving and not staying. However, if something coming into your home can flip this on its head and be a positive theme for the year.

In some cultures, it is customary to tie a cord to a basket with a few items in and set it outside of your front door. Once dawn rises on the first day of the year, pull the cord to bring the basket back into your home.

Another tradition pertaining to your home, is not to do laundry on the first day of the year as it may wash away any good luck that may come your way in the new year. Though…. on the same note it isn’t bad luck to have a bath or shower on the first day of the year, it’s  believed to be a good thing as it washes away any taint of the previous year.* While doing laundry on 1st January, in some folklore traditions it is good luck to wear new clothes and it brings luck into your home. Though, if you have pockets in the new clothes, place a coin in the pocket so you won’t have empty pockets throughout the year.

Ensure your cupboards are not empty, and you have something in your fridge and freezer too. This helps to ensure that your table will have ample stores through the year.

For many being debt free this New Year is probably out of reach, but in some folklore being free of debt at the turning of the year will bring financial stability… However, with the current climate, I would say pay one bill, or at least pay something off the debt you have.

Visitor Folklore

In some folklore traditions the first person to enter your home is important, and it needs to be the “right” person. In folk traditions it is believed to be best for a man to be the first person to enter your home, carrying offerings. Saying

“I bring Salt for the table.

Fuel for the Fire and bread for the table.

A Coin for your Needs.

I ask you to allow me entrance “

Once allowed in, he needs to greet all of those living in the house and leave through a different door, to not take the blessings back.


It goes without saying that breaking something is never a good thing, but on the first day of the year it is important not to break anything, because this could indicate more of the same through the year leading to chaos and havoc. If you do break something, don’t cry about it because if you do, it will indicate that your year may be filled with tears.


For some, working on New Year is a necessity and to set a trend according to folklore. Working isn’t a bad thing, but it is important to remember that you need balance in your life. Work if you must, but keep in mind that working too much on the first day of the year can lead to an imbalance toward your working life.

New Year Winds

The weather on New Year’s Day can be an indicator for the type of weather to expect throughout the year

Wind blowing from the South indicates that the year will have beautiful weather coming.

Wind from the North indicates that the year may have foul weather coming.

Wind from the East indicates there will be disaster, calamities, and general bleh

Wind from the West indicates that there may be deaths in the year that are important (not sure on this one as everyone has different people that are important to them.

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