Mysterious Christmas and New Year’s Eve

Happy snowmen. White snowmen. Fluffy snowmen.

Christmas and New Year, two of my favorite holidays of the year! I guess the cold, Christmas markets and the decorations make December a month full of mystery, hopes and joy.

I remember when I was very young, to have had really white Christmases and winters, We were spending hours splaying with the snow, fighting with snow, building castles, snowmen or sledding. The last activity was the funniest one, simply because I grew up in a monastery and the old nuns weren’t very happy to walk on a very slippery road, that is why they were throwing burnt coal on the ice or snow. This was a quiet war between kids from my neighborhood and the old nuns. At times they were winning, at times we were the ones to succeed…by throwing water on top of those coals.

My childhood winters were cold and white. For some of you, my readers, perhaps unimaginable cold – minus 15, minus 25C.

I still associate Christmas with the smell of oranges, boiled wine and a lot of yummy food – mostly made of meat. We say that Christmas is the satiated (full – in terms of food) and Easter is proud (on Easter we usually cook rabbit or mutton meat – which I don’t like 😀 and many many salads, cookies and all kind of desserts).

Now, that is almost that time of the year and people buy presents for their families and friends, I decided to look a bit at some traditions and myths related to this mesmerizing and holiday.

Christmas

It is believed (in Romania) that it’s bad luck to wear new shoes for Christmas.

A clear sky on Christmas announces a fruitful year, if the wind blows on Christmas, it is belived to bring bad luck. If it snows on Christmas Day, it is believed that on Easter will be fair weather.

It is good to have on Christmas table sprigs of mistletoe, for good luck. If you bathe on Christmas day, you’ll stay fresh all year, and if you eat apples on Christmas Eve, you’ll be healthy all the year around.

One should avoid, between Christmas and New Year, to knit, sew or machine wash.  And parents with children born on Christmas or New Year’s Eve will be very happy to know that those kids will be very lucky!

On Christmas Eve, some people sweep the house threshold, for good luck in the coming year.

Women shall put in the water they use to wash themselves a nut and coins. It is believed that this will keep that woman healthy as a nut, and money, to be rich.

Against evil’s eye and spells, one should put, in the four corners of the table, garlic and poppy seeds.

It is said that Santa Claus is not the only one who “travels” rushed across the sky in this special night of December 24, all witches and demons come out of hiding as well.

Cat by the Fireside (credits: http://www.webdesignmash.com/)
Cat by the Fireside (credits: http://www.webdesignmash.com/)

New Year

The second between the years, is believed to have the most magical power. That’s exactly why many people make a wish in that moment 🙂

Do not clean the house on December 31, otherwise a family member will die in the next year! The only items that you can wash without this adverse consequence are dishes.

The midnight kiss of the year marks not only the feelings that bind us to the people we care the most, but also how our relationship with those people will develop during the year that just started. In other words, it is desirable that at the turn of  the years, loved to be with you.

If you want to be lucky all the year around, wear something red, if you want your partner to find you very attractive, wear red underwear 😀 On January 1 dress with a new coat for the same reason.

At midnight, all the doors should be wide open to let the “old” year leave and welcome the “new” year.

It is said that evil spirits are afraid of noise and bright light. Hence the habit of organizing fireworks and to make, in principle, a lot of noise. For the same reason people rang the bells when there is a religious wedding ceremony.

It is good thing if the New Year finds you with some money in your pocket. The meaning is that you’ll know no shortage of money all year. The amount does not matter, it’s just the idea, so few coins are enough. Therefore, make sure to have some cash in your pockets 😉

Another superstition related to money is to pay back all your debts before New Year’s Eve. If you enter the new year in debts, you won’t get rid of them in the new year. Also, do not to give money on December 31 or January 1, otherwise you will have financial problems and debts all the year.

In fact, it is said that the object you hold in your hands at midnight, or the one that you touch or hold immediately after immediately after midnight, will be the most important plan in the coming year. So, be careful what you touch or hold!

If you have money in your hand, you’ll have good luck with them all the year, if you hold your lover’s hand, your love life will develop into a harmonious relationship, and if you keep a glass/cup in your hand, will have part of a joyful new year.

It is said that the first person who comes to your house after midnight will influence what happens to you in the new year.

Gingerbread cookies Credits: http://www.webdesignmash)
Gingerbread cookies Credits: http://www.webdesignmash)

For a woman, it would be ideal that the first person to step into your house should be a tall man with dark hair. If the guest brings a sprig of mistletoe, bread and salt, there are all chances that the new year will be the best of your life.

It’s bad luck if you hang the new year calendar before the new year begins.

On January 1 do not throw anything from home, even garbage. On the contrary, it is desirable to receive a gift on January 1, no matter how small and insignificant it may be.

Also on January 1, make sure you do something, some small task related to your work. In this way, you will have successes throughout the year. But beware – do not work full time or spend most of your time working on something, because the effect will be exactly the opposite!

Do not cry on January 1 and avoid to break an object.

It brings luck to eat pork or lentils on New Year. The New Year will be bright and good if you leave a lamp or a candle lit until sunrise. On the morning of January 1st place silver coins in water and wash your face with it.

Unmarried women must put in a pot of water a thread of basil, a branch of apple tree and money (coins), in the morning they should dream the one with whom they will marry. 🙂

New Year is greeted by a special custom in Italy, which is to throw out the window antiques, symbols of the past year. Thus, furniture and clothes end up in the street.

Christmas market in Aannaberg, Germany
Christmas market in Aannaberg, Germany

The Spanish are also quite superstitious. On New Year’s Eve they usually eat one grape for each of the 12 beats the clock announcing the turn of the year, these 12 grape berries symbolize desires for each month of the following year.

Portuguese are the same, they replace the grapes with figs.

Greeks dedicate New Year’s Day to St. Basil. Children leave their shoes by the fireplace in the New Year’s Eve, to receive gifts from the good saint. Adults eat something traditional, vassilopitta, a dessert in which a silver or a gold coin is placed. The one who finds the coin will have luck throughout the year. In some parts of Greece people take a pomegranate with them when they visit people on New Year’s Eve and smash it on the threshold, so that the household will have good luck

The Dutch “Oudejaarsdag” or “the last day of the year” (31 December) is celebrated by many with fireworks that start at dawn and hold until late at night. As in other European countries, in the Netherlands, it is believed that the first person to enter your house on New Year’s day will, if he be light haired, bring bad luck to you, if dark haired, good luck. The presence of a pair of storks or swallows is also seen as sign of good luck and friendship. Another old Dutch superstition say that whatever you do on New Year’s Day is what you will be doing rest of the year.

Xmas trees. (From: https://i0.wp.com/ywcabanff.ab.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/new-years.jpg)
Xmas trees. (From: http://ywcabanff.ab.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/new-years.jpg)

According to an old Flemish tradition, one should place a coin under once plate at New Years’ Eve to be lucky for the coming year.

In Denmark, people will save their old and broken dishes throughout the year to be thrown on their friends and families doors on New Year’s Eve. It is considered good luck to find thrown dishes on your doorstep on the next morning.

In Latvia, people believe that if you eat fish on New Year’s Eve and put the fish scales into your wallet, then money will keep flowing into it during the year.

In Scotland, New Year is called “Hogmanay”. In some villages are on rolls of tar are lit up and then let to roll on the streets. It is believed that the old year is burned and the new one is allowed to come. Like the Romans, Scots believe that the first person who will enter the house on the New Year will bring either good luck or bad luck. The year will be lucky if a man with dark hair enters the house.

Chinese New Year is celebrated sometime between January 17 and February 19, during the New Moon, “Yuan Tan”. Chinese people around the world take part in processions on the streets, where thousands of lanterns are lit up. They believe that evil spirits are everywhere at the time, and they use fireworks to chase them away.

An image as reminder of what we have to do on New Year's Eve :)  (From : http://beforeitsnews.com/travel/2013/12/new-years-traditions-and-superstitions-2-2459792.html)
An image as reminder of what we have to do on New Year’s Eve 🙂 (From : http://beforeitsnews.com/travel/2013/12/new-years-traditions-and-superstitions-2-2459792.html)

For Japanese the New Year, “Oshogatsu” is one of the most important holidays. In December, families organize “forget the year party” or “Bonenkai” . With this occasion, people leave behind problems and concerns of the year about to end. At the New Year’s Eve. at midnight, families go to the nearest temple to share sake and to assist to the 108 shots gong announcing the turn of the year.

Travel safe and wise!

Merry Christmas and Happy 2015 Year!!!!

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