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From the Christmas Gleaner archives: December 22, 1965

57 years ago

December 22, 1965

Superstitions told about New Year’s in many lands:

New Year’s Day affords everyone the opportunity bring himself good luck throughout the year. At least that is supposed to be true, according to several old superstitions concerning the beginning of a new year.

The “First Foot” – the first person to enter the house on New Year’s morning – plays a significant role in the family’s future fortunes. He must be a dark man to bring good luck, but if he also brings a gift and “carries in” more than he “takes out,” then the house is assured peace and plenty for a whole year. The most auspicious gifts as luck bringers are a lump of coal and a red herring.

Unmarried persons are advised to look out of the window on New Year’s morning. If you see a man, it is a sign that you will be wed before the year is out. Should you see a horse, you can have a wish, and it will be realized within the year. To see a dog is lucky but a rat fortells worry.


A little care will make it possible to bring oneself good luck for the entire year. Wear something new, if possible, on New Year’s Day but the garment must be put on when you first dress in the morning. Receipt of a gift is certain to carry luck. Wish everyone you meet “A happy New Year” but remember when the greeting is given to cross your fingers for luck. Be sure to say “rabbits” as the first word (when you wake before anyone has a chance to speak to you.

‘Love’s progress will be aided on New Year’s Day if you are careful to put on the left stocking before the right. The potency of this charm is supposed to be increased if you do all things as far as possible left-handedly during the day.

To open a bank account on New Year’s Day was considered lucky in Old England, the custom growing probably from the belief of many centuries that whatever you do on the first day of the year will be an indication of what will happen during the months that will follow.

In some parts of England and Scotland it is supposed to be unlucky to leave a house until some outsider has first entered it.

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