At the stroke of midnight, step forward a dark-haired man…

Just a few more hours and we’ll be saying goodbye to 2013 and welcoming in the New Year.  Happy New Year! to everyone who has already celebrated.

As with many notable days of the year the rites and traditions associated with New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day have become a little hazy over time.  In many of our towns and cities it’s another reason for people to party, become excessively drunk and get themselves in a pickle.  New Year’s Eve can be a lot of fun but it’s often a frustrating, horribly busy evening for the emergency services. Members of our family have worked in medicine and law enforcement for longer than I can remember so we have plenty of stories from the darker side of too much alcohol, drugs or both, including some tragedies.

Here’s hoping this year sees plenty of merriment without mishaps for all those who are celebrating.

We don’t live in a town or city and New Year is a less raucous affair which, I must admit, suits me fine because I’m not much of a party animal.  Out here people from the farms and hamlets go to the local pub, socialise, celebrate and generally enjoy each others company. In some areas superstitions about the casting out of evil spirits are maintained on New Year’s Eve followed by the blessing of homes and farms on New Year’s Day.

Another tradition involves opening the back door on the strike of midnight to let the old year out, then asking the first dark-haired man carrying bread, salt, coal and greenery to come through the front door.  By doing so it is said that everyone in the house will have enough food, money and warmth coupled with a long and healthy life. Welcoming a dark-haired stranger into our homes while we’re all a bit the worse for wear probably isn’t a very sensible idea so lining up a suitably equipped friend, relative or significant other might be more appropriate!

2013 has been another long year and one I won’t be sorry to say goodbye to, that’s assuming I stay awake long enough to see the New Year in!  However you are celebrating, have a safe, happy and healthy 2014 🙂

English: Father Time and Baby New Year from Fr...

English: Father Time and Baby New Year from Frolic & Fun, 1897 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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