I grew up in a family with a legacy of deep-rooted superstitions. An inordinate amount of them, too. Not just the eat greens and peas on New Year’s Day, those are rather mild in consideration. With Irish great-grandparents with customs of throwing salt over your shoulder, never standing with just one shoe on, and always receiving gifts of money tucked inside purses as gifts, I learned from an early age that superstitions were serious business in my family.

It always seemed there were more regarding New Year’s Day than any other day of the year. At least in my memory that was the case.

I thought I’d list just a few of them for you as you prepare to welcome another year.

New Year’s Day Superstitions

1. Do not wash clothes or dishes on New Year’s Day as you’ll be washing for the dead in the new year.
Now, normally, I love a good excuse not to do laundry or dishes, but it seems like every year on New Year’s Day I actually need to do laundry and dishes. I think it’s just because I know I’m not supposed to do any. My grandmother would also say you shouldn’t sweep on New Year’s Day. That’s good with me!

2. Do not take anything out of the house on New Year’s Day.
Absolutely nothing should be taken outside of the house. If you have something that needs to be delivered, go ahead and leave it outside the night before. Clear away your New Year’s Eve garbage before the stroke of midnight so you aren’t caught with a pile of trash that you can’t do anything with on New Year’s Day.

3. Your first visitor of the new year influences your entire year.
My grandfather always said that your first visitor, called the lucky bird, in the new year would influence the entire year ahead. He would encourage us not to leave our house until our lucky bird came calling. Just a couple of tips on the lucky bird – it should be a tall, dark-haired man. He’ll bring you good luck. It should never be a blonde or red-haired man and absolutely should never be a woman.

To make sure you have a tall, dark-haired lucky bird, have one stand outside your front door at the stroke of midnight. Once he rings the bell, open the door and ask him to enter. Never reach outside the door to greet him, as in doing so, you would have exited before he entered.

4. Pay your bills on New Year’s Eve. Do not loan anything or spend any money on New Year’s Day.
Be sure to pay your bills before ringing in the new year. Write any checks and take care of settling any debts you can before welcoming another year. Be sure not to loan anything or spend any money on New Year’s Day as it will guarantee you’ll be doling out money all year long.

5. Work just a little, but not a lot.
Spend just a little bit of time on your work. Make sure you do something you can successfully accomplish related to your work. Be sure not to spend too much time working though, as that is very unlucky. This one can be a bit tricky and I’m still trying to figure out what my just enough time working is for New Year’s Day.

But the superstition I’m looking the most forward to taking care of as we ring in the new year is the traditional New Year’s kiss. Grab your sweetheart and be sure to give them a warm, loving embrace and kiss as the clock strikes midnight to ensure love and prevent a year full of coldness.

These are just the tip of the iceberg, but will certainly start your year off just right. Or at least my grandparent’s would think so.

Does your family have any superstitions for New Year’s Day?

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Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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21 Comments Leave a comment or review

    1. Good evening
      As a child with six sibling in the house along with my and dad our parents we weren’t allow to bath, brush our hair not comb our hair. As children we thought it was funny all of us together no nothing we where allow to do! We couldn’t wait until the next day so, we all could take a bath. I still do the same thing every year. Tina

  1. I’m half Irish, with the other half being German. While I’ve heard of some of your Irish traditions, in our family the most important one (Dutch) was the consumption of Pork & Sauerkraut to ensure good luck in the year ahead.

    Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year to you and yours!!

  2. I have never heard of most of these…and now I’m a tiny bit scared. On New Years, I will spend the day hiding in bed, ignoring any and all housework and anyone who may knock on the door.

    Unless it is Justin Timberlake. Don’t judge.

    I hope you have a wonderful New Years, Robyn!! xoxo 🙂

    1. LOL! Don’t hide in the bed, you’ve got to eat your peas, greens and cornbread! Oh, and JT isn’t dark-haired. Maybe just keep a wig on your porch for him just in case.

  3. That was such fun to read, Robyn! Nope, no New Year’s superstitions here. With two sickies and having done 12 loads of why do we have fleas in the house when our dogs are outside?! laundry, I am just plain TIRED!

  4. Robyn, how very interesting. It’s always neat to find out how people spend their New Year’s day. I know some people are pretty intense about this stuff too.

    Enjoy your day and may it be a symbol of the great things that will come in the year.

    1. Oh yes! I’d certainly make them stand there until the tallest, darkest haired one arrived. 🙂 Maybe just slip some cookies outside for their wait tonight.

  5. My grandmother and mother always made pillow cases out of unbleached muslim and cooked cabbage. The pillow cases were supposed to make sure you had money throughout the year and the cabbage was so you would never be without food. I always think about these wonderful traditions and I am sorry that I didnot keep them up.

  6. My grandfather was Born in 1896 he was Irish as well and would get up early on New Years Day to bring good luck to all his friends.

  7. This was interesting to find similarities from various cultures. I’m African-American and familiar with variations of 1 & 3. Don’t wash clothes on New Year’s Day, as you’re washing away someone (assuring a loved one’s death). Make sure a man first enters your home to ensure good luck/prosperity. Growing up we’d traditionally have greens, black-eyed peas, and jowls (ham for those who didn’t eat jowls) to bring prosperity. Because most fish swim upstream–I think–(emphasis on UP), this was a must-have food eventually added as well. They naturally move UPward, assuring success in your endeavors for the year. My parents were from the south and had many traditions and superstitions instilled at an early age. As our family grew and we grew in faith, we cherished memories and learned to embrace freedom from fearful superstitions. Be blessed!

  8. An elderly lady friend said, On Jan 1, don’t exit from the same door you came in.  I have no idea what that means. 

  9. Has anybody actually not put these traditions in practice and something happened in their life throughout that year? I’m freaking out because I’m actually washing I have so much clothes and I did spend some money 

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