It is considered a very bad sign to see your own shadow in the moonlight on New Year’s Eve. Some even take this to be a sign of death.
On New Year’s Day, it is unlucky to leave your house before someone has entered it.
Likewise, it is very bad luck to carry something out of the house on the New Year before someone has brought something into the house. The following poem illustrates this belief:
Take out, then take in,
Bad luck will begin.
Take in, then take out
Good luck comes about.
You should not wear dirty clothes on New Year’s Day.
If, while getting dressed on New Year’s Day, you make a mistake while dressing (whether putting a shoe on the wrong foot or a shirt on inside-out) you should completely undress and start over. Failure to do so will result in bad luck.
It is bad luck to be late for breakfast on this day.
Good Luck for the New Year
As stated above, it is bad luck to leave your house before someone has entered it. If that person happens to be a dark-haired man, your luck for the year will be great.
To ensure good luck, when you enter your house for the first time in the new year, you should take something into the house that you did not take out.
Placing a piece of money on the doorstep on New Year’s Eve, and bringing that money in once the clock strikes will ensure a year of bounty for you.
Finding money on New Year’s Day is lucky if you spend the money on someone other than yourself.
When the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve, open the front and back door of your house, so that all evil spirits can escape, and the good ones can pass in. Close the door when the clock stops striking so the good spirits can’t leave.
A rather intricate superstition involves taking a little money, bread, salt, wood and coal and tying them in a small bundle. The bundle is placed on the doorstep. If the first person through the door has a name whose initials are made up of straight lines, they may bring the bundle inside the house. That person is then given a gift by the homeowner. This will result in a year of very good luck.
Other New Years Superstitions
It is custom to light a candle at sundown on December 31st and keep it burning until the new year is begun.
A superstition in Scotland said that luck for the coming year would be determined by the character of the first visitor on New Year’s Day.
Another Scottish superstition involved placing the spine of a Bible on a table and letting it fall open to a random page. The person would then place a finger on the page without looking. The verse the finger landed on would tells their fortune for the coming year.
In England and Germany, a superstition involving a cup and a teaspoon is used to tell whether or not you will be married in the coming year or soon after. On New Year’s Day, you balance a teaspoon on the edge of a cup. Then you begin to drop coffee or tea into the spoon. Every drop the teaspoon holds without losing its balance represents a year left of being single.
Animals on New Years Day
The actions and noises of pets on New Years Day are significant to the superstitious. A dog’s cheerful bark in the morning is a very good sign, while its howl is the opposite.
Meeting a cat in the morning on New Years Day is considered in some cultures to be a sign that you will change residences in the new year.
Seeing a pig on New Years Day foretold of a year of abundance for parts of Europe.
Seeing a snake, however, is thought to be a very bad omen, as it means you will suffer a death by violence in the coming year.
To see a crow is bad as well, as it means you will be cheated in multiple ways.