Thursday, 1 January 2015

Bringing in the New Year

Welcome to the New Year, 2015 already! but it also the seventh day of Christmas
 and everything you do today will influence  your luck in the coming year.

'Take out, then take in
Bad luck will begin
Take in, then take out
Good luck comes about.'

Traditionally the first person to enter a household on Jan 1st must have certain 
characteristics. dark hair, and usually male. He must also bring gifts, usually
 coal and whiskey which will bring luck for the coming year. This tradition in 
Scotland is known as first footing while in the Isle of Man it is known as Quaaltagh.

It is good to give neighbours and friends gifts, a lucky present is an apple stuck
 all over with cloves and holly. In Wales the new year apple is studded with wheat, 
oats and evergreen plants. The usual gift in Scotland for Hogmanay is a three 
cornered oatcake or shortbread with a slice of Yulekebbuck (cheese)
New Years Day is also associated with the making of resolutions as this time
 is ideal for renewal and fresh starts and many of us start the new year with a 
list of good intentions whether they make it past the end of the year or not!
Nothing should be taken out of the home today, not even the rubbish. Do not lend
 fuel or matches or pay any bills otherwise you will lack fire and money during
 the coming year. Doing the household chores were also frowned upon especially
 doing the laundry as it was believed that you would run the risk of washing away 
one of your nearest and dearest.
One of the strangest tradition connected with New Year comes from Wales, it is
 still seen in some of the towns and villages. It is the Mari Lwyd, the grey mare,
a decorated horses skull which is carried about the streets on a pole.

 It is carried to the door of the various houses and pubs where they  engage in
 a series of exchanges in rhyme or song with those inside before being admitted. 
This practice has its origins in the pagan celebrations surrounding the Winter Solstice 
and the cycle of death and rebirth.
However you celebrate today I wish you all the best for the coming year.

'Welcome and merry meet this bright new year
welcome and merry meet to 
happiness, joy, health, and prosperity'

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