New Year’s Day Superstition

Every year when my informant would celebrate New Year’s with her family, they would have a rule on the first day of the year. Nothing was allowed to leave the house. They couldn’t take out the trash, take an item to a friend, nothing. Her parents told her it was about not starting off the year with a loss; what has been accumulated in the last year should be preserved. If the rule is broken, it is said that the new year will go poorly and the family will have bad luck. When the family really needed to take something out of the house, though, sometimes they would allow it as long as something else was brought into the house first to balance it out.

My informant said she always kind of resented the rule because she didn’t see the point of it and it inconvenienced her. She followed it to please her family, though, and admitted sometimes it was fun because it was something the family all did. In that way, it was a bonding experience.

I’d never heard of the superstition before but I think it’s interesting how it gives special importance to the first day of the year, as if what happens on that day will affect the whole year. Also interesting is the idea that physically keeping items in the house will mean a preservation of less tangible accomplishments and gains made in the previous year.