New Years is a time to bring good luck to the New Year and there are a variety of traditions celebrated around the world to do just that. There are cultures that think if a man that is tall, dark and handsome crosses your threshold as the first person of the year it is a good luck sign. Then there are those that think if a red headed woman is the first to step over the threshold the year will bring nothing but stress.
Other traditions involve cleaning the house. It is thought that you brush out bad luck of the past year along with the dust you sweep out. Another is if you hold a piece of gold or silver at the beginning of the New Year that your chances of prospering in the New Year will increase. In some places they put a silver coin over a doorway or place a penny on a windowsill.
In Ireland, one of their New Year traditions involves banging on walls and doors with bread made for Christmas in order to chase away the bad luck and will bring the good spirits to the house as they are promised enough bread in the New Year. In Iran they have a tradition of banging pots and pans and it could be related to the tradition of the Irish. During the Chinese New Year they have a tradition that goes back to ancient times where they set off firecrackers to welcome in the New Year.
Another Celtic tradition is for the boy that is the youngest in the household to light a candle when dusk begins so that it will burn throughout the night until the light of the new day breaks. This may be a citified version of the tradition of the Celts of lighting bonfires in order to keep away spirits that are evil. The Samhain tradition is one of lighting tapers to put in the windows in order to chase away the evil spirits.
In order to ensure they grow tall, Philippine children will jump up and down at the stroke of midnight. Celebrations at sunrise in Asia are for honoring the elders and ancestors in order to bring luck. In Germany they drop lead that is melted into cold water and then they take turns trying to figure out the results. The tradition has enjoyed such popularity that in Germany kits are sold that include pellets and also suggestions for interpreting the results.
In Italy, dough balls drenched in honey called Chiacchiere are made to ensure it is a sweet year. In Spain and other Latin cultures one grape for each month make a year lucky. In The Southern region of the United States black eyed peas or anything that is round such as pretzels or donuts are food that ensures good fortune in the coming year.
New Year traditions may seem strange to some, but to those that practice these traditions year after year they are all a part of what makes a new year a fortunate one or one that will bring bad luck.