It’s amazing that despite how traditions evolve over the centuries, the core of these customs remains the same. As we mark the close of 2014 and prepare to launch 2015, here is a look at historic and contemporary traditions.
Out with the old, in with the new.
Some Regency England citizens prepared for the New Year by scrubbing the house from top to bottom. Anything perishable such as rags or ashes, were removed so nothing carried over from one year to the next, according to author Maria Grace.
Today, many people apply a little elbow grease before the clock strikes twelve on December 31st in order to create a “fresh start.” They may dispose of alcohol, unhealthy food or other items related to “bad habits” they hope to abandon in the new year. Other housecleaning practices may include returning borrowed items, paying off debts and mending quarrels. The symbolism of such “clean slate” behavior can be traced back to many early civilizations.
Creating your own luck
Rather than depend on the whims of fate, Regency citizens attempted to influence the events and fortune awaiting them in the new year. Farmers were known to hang specially baked pancakes from cows’ horns and burn hawthorn bushes in the fields for a prosperous year. Cows’ udders were washed with water to insure productivity.
The contemporary custom of sharing a kiss on midnight with the one you love is practiced so the romance flourishes in the upcoming year.
What traditions are customary for your celebration of the New Year?