It looks cold, messy, and blowy outside. I’m glad I’m inside and dry! 50F, wind at 5mph and gusting up into the teens, AQI37, UV1. Everything is wet and we’re more rain coming ashore in the next few hours. After that it ought to dry out until mid-afternoon on Friday and the weekend looks to be very wet.
Yesterday was a tremendous amount of fun, despite our both being almost too tired to think. I’m glad today is a rest day. I have a write-up of our day coming, but it’s going to take awhile to finish, so I’ll update this later today rather than take the time, right now.
We’re not going to be open today and we’re going to take the time to catch up on things, mostly sleep, rather than pushing ourselves…. being kind to ourselves in the New Year! I’m hoping to get some bread made and we’ll have that with our lentils for luck and our peas and hominy in the new year. 🙂
Peas and Hominy (Peace and Harmony) in the New Year – This one
is a tradition in our family for New Year’s Day. Yes, it’s a pun. It’s also quite tasty and a simple dish for the sleepy. If you’ve never tried hominy this is a good start. Essentially, it’s just another starch, but it’s gotten a bad rap because of “grits” which are a whole different thing!
1 30 oz can hominy
1 8oz pkg frozen green peas
1 stick of butter
Drain liquid from hominy. In a glass bowl or pyrex cup mix hominy and peas. Top with butter. Zap in microwave for 3 minutes and stir well. Zap again, one minute at a time until butter is completely melted and peas are warm. Serve hot. Makes 6 generous servings or 8 regular.
We usually manage one trip into the Eugene area over the holidays to see friends. Vesta is one that is on just about all of the trips. Usually Iurii is, but he was in the hospital again… hoping this procedure will solve several of those problems…. Vesta remembered that Loren and Anja wanted to see Marian’s timber bamboo, so off we went!
We’re always late getting on the road, no matter what, but between the tiny amount of sleep that we both had and the gas card having problems that couldn’t be solved before yesterday morning it was a grumpier start than usual. We were finally rolling at 9:20.
It was dry and overcast, but not dim and grey. We chatted the whole way through Yachats and down the coast. The views of clouds over the ocean were spectacular. We stopped in Florence for gas and then headed into the Valley on 126 through Mapleton, Walton and Veneta and finally right to the restaurant.
We had chosen a place called “Spice and Steam”. It’s a very modern, looking place, decent decor, although the lighting was a little dim for old eyes. Vesta had ordered jasmine tea while she was waiting, and we all had several cups and several more after a refill of the pot. Vesta and I got egg flower soup and it’s some of the best I’ve ever had. After that she got several sorts of dim sum and I got radish patties…which had black pepper in them, so I couldn’t eat very much, but they were very tasty. Loren got a tofu dish that came in a mixing bowl…. I also got green beans, but they had tons of *red* pepper in them, so I paid for that the next morning. …and we exchanged goodies and talked. We had a whole box of things for her, but the “cheese slut” pin was a hit! Loren and I both had leftovers to take home.
So Vesta led us to Marian’s place and we got to explore her yard…or maybe I ought to call it a garden, rather than a yard. She has all kinds of herbs and plants, a huge old witch hazel tree and a stand of timber bamboo that has to be seen to be believed…. and I left the camera in the car. <sigh> They harvest every year, putting up pickled bamboo shoots when they come up in the spring, and there’s lots of cut and drying in various spots around the yard. She says that if you sit out there with a cup of coffee in the spring you can hear the stuff growing, creaking and scratching and groaning! At one of the stems I exclaimed, “It’s big enough for beer steins!” Quart or 1/2 gallon beer steins at that! We talked uses for bamboo for awhile before moving on to other plants.
She cut me a whole bouquet of bay (American rather than European) and I have not only a bay nut, but a sprouted plant in a cup that I have to bucket, soonest, to see how well one will do. Oh, that stuff smells wonderful! I was reacting like a cat in a catnip plant I must admit, sinking my shoes into the damp loam but getting right up into a branch and just *sniffing*! 🙂
She also showed us her tea plant which is about to bloom and gifted me with a blossom. Hoping to get pix tonight (writing up on Wednesday)! …and thyme and sweet violets and oregano all over the yard and…and….and… Anja was a very happy herby person… 🙂
So we went inside and Marian had been baking, getting ready for the New Year’s party they were having that night. The house smelled absolutely delicious and we were offered all kinds of cookies that we were too stuffed to partake of. Loren nodded off in a chair and we let him doze while we were talking. Marian was working on the 12th Night schedule, too, when I pointed out that my 2, 2-hour classes had been reduced to just a total of 3 hours….
We spent a good long while chatting. I gave Marian the set of little goodies that I had put together. She admired Loren’s bone needle and we had a good laugh over the bamboo needlecase that I had added. 🙂 She also got a set of ships and sheath and a matching bob.
I went out the back way where there’s a hand-rail and admired the pottery and glass bits embedded into the concrete steps to help with traction… even little pressed glass butterflies 🙂 . We got a last admiring look at the bamboo before heading out.
We stopped at Walmart to nab windshield wiper blades to replace the ones that shredded on the way in. I dozed while Loren went in after those and then he installed them before we headed out. It was getting darker, since the clouds were thickening up, making rolls and bumps under the cloud deck. It started to drizzle before he was done and we headed home and on the way through the mountains and down through Mapleton it was pouring.
It wasn’t coming down quite as hard in Florence, and we stopped first to use the “unfilling station” at A&Wand then decided to get some supper there so’s to take a break. I love their cod basket with coleslaw and I got onion rings to go with. When we were done, we headed up 101 towards home and it got “interesting”.
What is it with people that try to drive in your trunk? In fog/rain/wind conditions, driving an old soccer-mom car, we only had about 5 minutes free of people with their highbeams on, riding our bumper. We were driving at the top speed we could handle in those conditions. First off….if we had had some kind of emergency stop (think branch, or elk) those folks *would* been have coming in the hatch of the car. 2nd, pushing someone just makes the not-so-safe conditions worse. 3rd, why highbeams on from behind us? We were literally glare-blinded *from* *behind* a couple of times! It caused a wild swerve because we couldn’t see the lines on the road, both times. 4th…. you won’t get there faster if you push, you’ll just make it possible that neither of us will get home. 🤨😳🤔🤫😲😲😲
Arthur found this! Details in the caption below. By Brent McKean
Today’s Plant is the Blueberry, Vaccinium Cyanococcus (many species/varieties)! This is a fruiting bush that is related to cranberries, huckleberries and bilberries, has many species within the genus and many varieties within the species. Many fruits are called blueberries, when they’re not Vaccinium. Widely cultivated across the world, the fruit is high in iron and lot of micronutrients and even has resveratrol like red grapes. It may have effects on brain health, reducing stroke damage in experimental animals and memory retention in the aged. More here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blueberry – Put blueberries under the doormat to keep people you don’t want out of the house or plant them along the property line or next to the front walk to keep them entirely off your property. Blossoms can be dried and carried in an amulet, or wear fresh ones in your hair for protection from negative psychic energy near you. Eat blueberries and/or make blueberry pie or tea or jam to get the protection from psychic attack inside you, especially if the effects are leading to headaches and fatigue.
Pocket full of money – In Scotland, Wales and the border counties of England, an old tradition is for children to go singing door to door on New Year’s morning, for which they will be rewarded with coins, sweets, fruit or mince pies. A typical song goes:
The Days of Volos – Procines (January) 1-6 – These moonlit and frosty nights have a name: The Holiday of the Wolves. These days are set aside for the worship of the God of pets and of cattle, whose name is Volos. We give our thanks for the animals on these days, which bring food and sustenance to our homes from ancient times. We also defend them from the ravenous wolves which attack. (Slavic Pagan Calendar)
The shop is closed today. Holiday hours – closed 1/2 and 1/7-15. Winter hours are 11am-5pm Thursday through Monday. Need something off hours? Give us a call at 541-563-7154 or Facebook or email at email@example.com If we’re supposed to be closed, but it looks like we’re there, try the door. If it’s open, the shop’s open! In case of bad weather, check here at the blog for updates, on our Facebook as Ancient Light, or call the shop.
Love & Light,
Today’s Astro & Calendar
Waxing Moon Magick – The waxing moon is for constructive magick, such as love, wealth, success, courage, friendship, luck or healthy, protection, divination. Any working that needs extra power, such as help finding a new job or healings for serious conditions, can be done now. Also, love, knowledge, legal undertakings, money and dreams. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 1/10 at 11:12am. Waxing Crescent phase – Keywords for the Crescent phase are: expansion, growth, struggle, opportunity. It is the time in a cycle that you gather the wisdom learned in the new phase and communicate your intention to move forward. Light a candle. Write or read an affirmation. LISTEN & ABSORB. Commit to your goal. God/dess aspect: Maiden/Youth, energy and enthusiasm – Associated God/dess: Artemis & Apollo, Mayet/Djehuti, Freya/Frey. Phase ends at the Quarter on 1/2 at 8:45pm.
Ruddy Mars grows more prominent before dawn with each passing week. The Red Planet now rises before 4:30 a.m. local time and climbs 20° above the southeastern horizon an hour before sunrise. Mars glows at magnitude 1.6, which is a full magnitude brighter than any of the background stars belonging to its host constellation, Libra the Scales. Unfortunately, a telescope doesn’t add much to the view, revealing a bland disk only 4″ across.
The Moon reaches apogee, the farthest point in its orbit around Earth, at 8:30 p.m. EST. It then lies 251,394 miles (404,580 kilometers) from Earth’s center.
The Winter Hexagon is the biggest and brightest asterism in the sky — at least the biggest one that’s commonly recognized. After about 8 p.m., start with bright Sirius low in the southeast. Look left of it by two or three fists at arm’s length to find Procyon. From there go upper left to the Pollux and Castor pair, then high up to bright Capella (hitting Menkalinan before getting there). Then jog right to orange Aldebaran, lower right to Rigel in Orion’s leading foot, and back down lower left to Sirius. Inside the Hexagon, well off center, shines fire-colored Betelgeuse.
Jupiter is hidden in conjunction with the Sun.
Old Farmer’s Almanac Sky map for January – https://www.almanac.com/sky-map-january
Goddess Month of Hestia runs from 12/26 – 1/22
Celtic Tree Month of Beth Birch Dec 24 – Jan 20
Runic half-month of Eihwaz/Eoh 12/28-1/11 Represents the dead, and the yew tree, sacred to Winter shamanism. Nigel Pennick, The Pagan Book of Days, Destiny Books
©2019 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of Beth/Birch, Dec 24 – Jan 20, Beith – (BEH), birch – The silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) is the most common tree birch in much of Europe. It grows up to 30 m (100 feet) high, but is more often found in spreading clumps on sandy soils. It is one of the first trees to colonize an area after a mature forest is cut; this is probably a large part of its symbolic connection with new beginnings. It is cultivated in North America, often under the name of weeping birch. The three trees in my front yard form root sprouts that would take over the bed where they are planted if I didn’t cut them back. The common birch (B. pubescens Ehrh.) is almost as widespread as the silver birch, but grows primarily on acid or peaty soils. It can reach 20 m (65 feet) in height. Birches are members of the Birch family (Betulaceae). Curtis Clark
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
W 1 High 5:02 AM 6.8 7:53 AM Rise 11:51 AM 28
~ 1 Low 10:56 AM 3.4 4:47 PM Set 11:28 PM
~ 1 High 4:15 PM 6.2
~ 1 Low 10:58 PM 1.3
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – I manifest from abundance. With the consciousness of abundance, I give. With the consciousness of abundance, I receive.
~ No truly great man ever thought himself so. – William Hazlitt
~ I shall adopt new views as fast as they shall appear to be true views. – Abraham Lincoln, U.S. President
~ To err is human, to forgive, divine. – Alexander Pope
~ There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life; music and cats. – Albert Schweitzer
Heap on more wood! the wind is chill;
But let it whistle as it will,
We’ll keep our Christmas merry still. – ―Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)
From the old Pip Wilson’s Almanac, which I *really* miss!
- Every day is a red letter day
Carpe diem! Seize the day!
- Ring out the old, Ring in the new, Ring out the false, Ring in the true. Traditional
- Then came old January, wrapped well,
In many weeds to keep the cold away;
Yet did he quake and quiver like to quell,
And blow his nayles to warm them if he may;
For they were numbed with holding all the day,
An hatchet keene, with which he felled wood,
And from the trees did lop the needlesse spray;
Upon an huge great Earth-pot Steane he stood,
From whose wide mouth there flowed forth the Romane flood. Edmund Spenser, English poet; Faerie Queen, The Mutabilitie Cantos, Canto vii
- No one ever regarded the First of January with indifference. It is that from which all date their time, and count upon what is left. William Hone, Every Day Book Vol I, 1878
- Love and joy come to you, And to our wassail too, And God send you a Happy New Year. The Yorkshire wassail
- Wassail. A salutation used on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day over the spiced-ale cup, hence called the ‘wassail bowl’. (Anglo-Saxon, Waes hael, be whole, be well). Evans, Ivor H, Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Cassell, London, 19**
- This morning (we lying lately in the garret) I rose, put on my suit with great skirts, having not lately worn any other clothes but them. First entry in the diary of Samuel Pepys, January 1, 1660
- Here lies our good Edmund, whose genius was such,
We scarcely can praise it or blame it too much;
Who, born for the universe, narrowed his mind,
And to party gave up what was meant for mankind. Oliver Goldsmith, an epitaph upon Edmund Burke, British statesman, born on January 1, 1730
- You could not meet Burke for half an hour under a shed, without saying he was an extraordinary man. Dr Johnson, on Edmund Burke
- Abstract liberty, like other abstractions, is not to be found. Edmund Burke; Speech on conciliation with America (March 22, 1775)
- The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse. Edmund Burke; Speech on the Middlesex Election, 1771
- Superstition is the religion of feeble minds. Edmund Burke; Reflections on the Revolution in France
- Good order is the foundation of all things. Edmund Burke; Reflections on the Revolution in France
- Liberty, too, must be limited in order to be possessed. Edmund Burke; Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol
- The British are coming! The British are coming! Paul Revere, born on January 1, 1735; called out on his ride from Charlestown to Lexington
- I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to inter-marry with white people … and I am as much as any other man in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. Abraham Lincoln, September 18, 1858, two months after declaring he was opposed to ‘inferiority’ of races; on January 1, 1863, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation
- Death destroys a man, the idea of Death saves him. EM Forster, English author, born on January 1, 1879, Howards End
- A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away. Barry M Goldwater, US Senator, born on January 1, 1909
- I would remind you that extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue! Barry M Goldwater; Speech, San Francisco, July 17, 1964
January 1st Lore
January 1 is the 1st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. There are 364 days remaining (365 in leap years).
January Birthstone: Garnet, signifying truth, constancy and physical strength.
January, month of new beginnings
January, like February, was introduced into the Roman calendar by a legendary king of Rome, Numa Pompilius (c. 715 – 673 BCE), who named it in honour of Janus, the god of doors and openings (Latin janus, a door).
Janus is represented in Roman art as a man with two faces, one looking backwards and one forwards, implying that he stood between the old and the new year, holding both in regard.
The ancient Jewish New Year, which began on March 25, continued for a long time to have a legal standing in Christian countries. In England, it was not until 1752 that in legal, as in popular circles, January 1 became New Year.
Janus is the male equivalent of one of the versions of the goddess Juno-Janus, who, in her two-faced aspects of Antevorta and Postvorta, looks simultaneously forwards and backwards, as Janus does.
In modern Asatru, January is called Snowmoon.
In American backwoods tradition, the January full moon is called Wolf Moon.
In the Celtic calendar, the first 20 days of January are in the month of Beth, the birch tree, representing beginnings and purification, white being the emblematic colour. This month is dedicated to the Mother Goddess. From January 21 is Luis, the rowan, dedicated to Morrigan and with grey as its emblematic hue.
In the thirteen-month goddess calendar of Lux Madriana, the month of Hestia continues till January 22, followed by the month of Bridhe.
Juvenalia, ancient Rome – In 59 CE, the notorious Roman emperor, Nero, instituted the Juvenalia festival, originally on December 24. It commemorated, of all things, the first shaving of his beard at the age of 21, symbolizing his transition from youth to manhood. The Juvenalia was a theatrical festival which was turned by succeeding emperors into a spectacle of chariot races and fights between wild beasts, celebrated on January 1.
Kalends of January, or the Gamelia, ancient Rome – The Romans celebrated their New Year in March; today was dedicated to the Three Fates, called by them the Parcae. The ancient poet Homer personified these three daughters of Night thus: Clotho, the spinner, spins the thread of life; Lachesis is pure chance and luck; and Atropos is our inescapable fate.
Happy New Year! – New Year’s Day is a holiday in 162 nations of the world. In Britain there is an old custom that you should take nothing out of the house today, not even garbage. An old British tradition has it that you should not lend matches, or fuel, to anyone today, or you’ll lack fire all year. And don’t lend money to anyone, or you’ll be without it this year.
Welsh Callenig – The Welsh give a Calennig today. It’s a New Year’s apple, stuck with wheat, oats, nuts and evergreen leaves. Its covered in flour and gold paint or leaf, and stands on a tripod of rowan or holly skewers for luck. These woods are ancient Druidic magic charms, as is the apple itself.
Yulekebbuck – The Scots at New Year traditionally eat Yulekebbuck, or Christmas cheese. The first Monday in January is their public holiday, which they call Handsel Monday.
Pocket full of money – In Scotland, Wales and the border counties of England, an old tradition is for children to go singing door to door on New Year’s morning, for which they will be rewarded with coins, sweets, fruit or mince pies. A typical song goes:
I wish you a merry Christmas A Happy New Year.
A pocket full of money And a cellar full of beer.
A good fat pig To last you all the year.
Please to give a New Year’s gift For this New Year.
The god Janus guides the revolution of time. Adapted from a frontispiece and verse explanation in Heath, James, A Brief Chronicle, Folger Shakespeare Library, 2nd ed. (1663).
In Roman Mythology, Janus was the god of gates, doors (ianua), beginnings, endings and doorways. The month of January was named for him. He was usually depicted as Janus Geminus (twin Janus) or Bifrons, with two faces looking in opposite directions. In some places he was Janus Quadrifrons (the four-faced). He was associated with Etruscan Ani.
Wikipedia tells us that Janus was worshipped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times, as well as marriages, births and other beginning. He was representative of the middle ground between barbarity and civilization, rural country and urban cities and youth and adulthood. He supposedly came from Thessaly in Greece and shared a kingdom with Camese in Latium. They had many children, including Tiberinus. Janus and his later wife, Juturna, were the parents of Fontus. He had another wife name Jana.
Janus is the god of change and transitions such as the progression of past to future, of one condition to another, of one vision to another, and of one universe to another.
The Twelve Days of Christmas – On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying, Five golden rings. Four colly birds, three French hens, two turtledoves, And a partridge in a pear tree.
New Year’s Day; often celebrated at 0:00 with fireworks
[In Britain] The civil and legal year began March 25th till after the alteration of the style, in 1752, when it was fixed, like the historic year, to January 1st. In Scotland the legal year was changed to January 1st as far back as 1600. Evans, Ivor H, Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Cassell, London, 1988
If January calends be summerly gay, It will be winterly weather till the calends of May. Traditional English weather proverb
Jack Frost in Janiveer Nips the nose of the nascent year. Traditional English weather proverb
The first three days of January rule the coming three months. Traditional English weather proverb
If this morning is red, it foretells foul weather and great need. Traditional English weather proverb
Saint Basil came from Caesaria.
He holds a book and paper, and carries an ink-stand.
He writes in the book, and he reads from the paper.
“Basil, do you know how to read? Basil, do you know any songs?”
“I have learned how to read, but I don’t know any songs.”
And he leaned upon his staff to say his alpha, beta.
The staff was of dry wood, and it put forth green branches. Boys’ door-to-door carol in Greece for today, St Basil’s Day
Happy, happy New Year Till next year, till eternity,
Corn on the corn stalk, Grapes in the vineyard,
Yellow grain in the bin, Red apples in the garden,
Silkworms in the house, Happiness and health Until next year. Old Bulgarian greeting
The next to this is Newe yeares day whereon to every frende,
They costly presents in do bring, and Newe yeares giftes do sende,
These giftes the husband gives his wife, and father eke (also) the childe,
And maister on his men bestowes the like, with favour milde. Thomas Naogeorgus, The Popish Kingdom, 1553
Januaries, Nature greets our eyes exactly as she must have greeted theirs: every square inch filling in with foliage – Elizabeth Bishop, ‘Brazil, January 1, 1502’
The beginning is the half of every action. Greek Proverb
A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Chinese Proverb
Once begun A task is easy; half the work is done. Horace
Early Christian New Year – The early Christians were known to run about in masquerade on New Year’s Day, making fun of the prevailing pagan customs.
- New Year in antiquity – Today was sacred to the Greek divine couple, Hera and Zeus, who equate with Rome’s Juno and Jupiter. On their New Year’s Day the Romans made offerings to the goddess Fortuna, for a year to benefit everyone.
- Strenae – Both the ancient Greeks and the Romans gave New Year’s gifts, the latter calling them strenae. Tatius, King of the Sabines, was given, one New Year’s Day, some branches cut from a forest sacred to the Sabine tutelary goddess Strenia (strength) – hence the name. Her name was applied to this holiday when the Romans decorated with palm, bay and laurel branches, hung with sweets, dates, figs and gilded fruit. From that word the French derive their word étrenne, a New Year’s gift. In Sicily, groups of carollers go about singing La Strenna, wishing householders Happy New Year and asking for treats. If refused, the offender is cursed with a threatening verse.
- Kalends of January or the Gamelia, ancient Rome
- The day on which interest payments were due in Rome. In stable economic periods in ancient Rome, the interest rate was 0.5 per cent per month. Originally New Year’s Day in Rome was March 1. Marriages on this day were considered as having a good omen. The day was also auspicious for rulership, glory and cheerfulness, and people made vows of public and private felicity. Today was also dedicated to the Three Fates, called by the Romans the Parcae. The ancient poet Homer personified these three daughters of Night thus: Clotho, the spinner, spins the thread of life; Lachesis is pure chance and luck; and Atropos is our inescapable fate. The ancient Romans exchanged presents at New Year.
- “This day was also known as the Festival of Juno. Juno was called Unial by the Etruscans. Known as Hera to the Greeks, she was also known as Saturnia to the Romans. Juno was the goddess of marriage and childbirth. She was wedded to Zeus in the Garden of the Gods where Gaea created in her honor a tree of life bearing golden fruit.”
- Noisy New Year! – Many parts of the world see in the New Year with noise. Often church bells are rung to bring in this special day. Originally, the noises were to drive away evil spirits that might darken the coming year. Bonfires were once lit for the same purpose, as well as the urge warm weather back to earth.
- First New Year visitor – There is an old British superstition that said the household would have a year’s bad luck if the first visitor had fair hair, flat feet or eyebrows that met in the middle, or if the person carried a knife.
- Danish New Year! – The Danish people like to see the New Year in with noise. Children collect broken pottery all year and throw it today against the sides of peoples’ houses, and bang on their doors. And we thought we had it noisy here!
- Handsel Monday – The Scottish celebrate the first Monday of the year as their New Year holiday, calling it Handsel Monday.
- New Year’s gifts – In some countries, such as France and Scotland, gifts at New Year are as important as Christmas presents in many other countries.
- Persian New Year – In old Persia, now Iran, people used to exchange eggs at New Year, as we do at Easter, to suggest new life.
- Pin money – An old English custom at New Year was for men to give their wives money to buy pins, which once were quite expensive. The expression pin money, meaning household expense money, comes from this practice.
- St Basil’s cakes – In Greece, many people bake a vasilopitta, a nut and lemon cake named after St Basil, who died on this day in 379 CE. The cake contains a coin; to find it in one’s slice guarantees a year of good luck.
- First-footing – In Scotland and the north of England, people go first-footing soon after midnight on New Year’s Day. This involves visiting the homes of friends, having a drink and a bite to eat, and then moving on to the next home. The Scots call the New Year’s celebration Hogmanay.
- Lucky bird! – When Scots and northern English people welcome a first-footer (the first person into their home after the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day), they hope it is a fair-haired man, who they sometimes also call a lucky bird.
- Lucky first-footer! – When Scots and northern English people welcome a first-footer (the first person into their home after the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day), they hope it is a fair-haired man, for this will bring good luck. But if he has splayed feet, flat feet, an eyebrow that meets in the middle, or a blind eye, or is carrying a knife, it is considered bad luck for the householders that year!
- Coal, bread and whisky – When Scots and northern English people welcome a first-footer (the first person into their home after the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day), they hope it is a fair-haired man and that he will be carrying a lump of coal for the fire, a loaf for the table and whisky for the man or men of the house.
- Whisky (spelt whiskey by the Irish and Americans) comes from the Gaelic word uisgebeatha, or water of life.
- Sneaking a keek – In old Scotland some of the family elders would keek – Scotch for peep – to see the first footer (or first man across the threshold in the New Year) arriving.
- A Scottish New Year song
- A guid New Year to yin an’ a’, An’ mony may ye see. An’ durin’ a’ the years to come, Oh, happy may ye be!
Lucky first-footer! – When Scots and northern English people welcome a first-footer (the first person into their home after the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day), they hope it is a fair-haired man for luck. He must enter by the front door and leave by the back, symbolising the old and new years.
- Guising – The people of Yorkshire and northern England have among their many old customs the tradition of guising on New Year’s Eve. Guising is a centuries-old practice of going from door to door singing songs – trick or treating at Halloween derives from guising.
- Welsh New Year – The Welsh open the back door before midnight on New Year’s Eve to let the Old Year out, then they lock it. At the last stroke of midnight on the clock they open the front door to welcome the New Year.
- Polish New Year – Polish tradition is for vagabond players to put on street pantomimes on New Year’s Day. Gypsies, too, are on the streets, fortune telling.
- Crappy noodles – A century ago the Sicilians on New Year’s Day ate lascagne cacate, or “crappy noodles”, a kind of lasagne. To eat any other sort of pasta today was considered bad luck. Their saying went “Whoever eats macaroni today will have a bad year”.
- Grapes at midnight – People of Madrid, Spain, have an interesting old New Year’s custom: at the stroke of midnight each person eats twelve grapes. The cinemas will even stop running a movie at midnight to allow the patrons to eat their grapes.
- The nightwatch bell – As in many parts of the world, in Japan the New Year is brought in with noise. Here, temple bells sound, ringing out the old year. Then the joyano-kane, or nightwatch bell, rings in the new with precisely 108 chimes. This, according to Buddhist tradition, helps free mankind from the 108 “earthly desires”.
- Bells, bells, bells – A good idea has swift feet – the chiming of bells rings in the New Year in Japan and England as well as in Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia and Romania.
- Kwam Suk Pee Mai! – As in many parts of the world, in Thailand the New Year is brought in with the tolling of bells – temple bells. People say Kwam Suk Pee Mai!, meaning Happy New Year!
- Today Thai children will exchange presents with family and friends, and the general populace will present Buddhist monks a thanks offering of rice and other food.
- Happy Ta’u Fo’ou! – That’s New Year in Tonga! Today Tongan boys and girls will go in groups from door to door serenading the populace. Some will make a joyful noise on harmonicas, guitars, drums and ukuleles, making up hymns and songs for the occasion. Like trick or treaters, they will receive goodies for their efforts.
- The hungry dead of Trinidad – Just as at Christmas and Easter, the people of Trinidad are known sometimes to “feed” the dead at New Year. Food, drink and even tobacco are left on a table for the deceased. We have no information about whether it is ever taken.
- Grandfather Frost – The Russians don’t have Santa Claus, even though Saint Nicholas is patron of Moscow. They have Grandfather Frost (D’yed Moroz) at New Year, with his comely and daintily named assistant, Snegourka the Snow Maiden. They bring presents to children on this day.
- New Year trees – The Russian have New Year trees instead of Christmas trees, with more than 50,000 decorated trees erected in Moscow public places and 700,000 in private homes of Muscovites.
- Deda Mraz – At New Year the Russians have D’yed Moroz (Grandfather Frost) who looks like Santa Claus, and the people of the former Yugoslavia have their Deda Mraz. Like Santa, he brings presents to the children. He arrives a week before Christmas and asks what gifts they would like, delivering them on January 1.
- New Year’s party – In the former Yugoslavia on New Year’s Day the people light the candles on their New Year’s tree and open their gifts. The day is traditionally one big party with music, fine food and dancing.
- Got new clothes on? – Many Londoners believe that on New Year’s Day it is unlucky not to wear new clothes. Haitians also go out in new clothes, or at least in their very best, as an omen of how their year will go.
- Paraguay’s baby – Families in Paraguay today will rearrange the little figurines in their nativity scenes and address the baby Jesus as Niño del Año Nuevo – Baby of the New Year. Before he was Niño de la Navidad – Baby of the Nativity.
- Glöggy New Year! – In Sweden on this day, many people will go to church and to smorgasbords, where they will drink a glass of spicy glögg.
- German New Year – New Year’s Day in Germany is dedicated to St Bertha, or Perchta.
- Happy Oshogatsu – Japan’s Oshogatsu festival today is held for the Household Gods.
- Tickle the cow – In medieval England they celebrated this auspicious day with cow tickling. A flatcake was put on a cow’s horns in this unique ritual.
- Hog and hominy – In parts of the deep South of the USA, a traditional pork-and-maize meal is eaten today. It goes by the name of hog and hominy, and is eaten for good luck. The word hominy (corn porridge) is not related to Hogmanay, Scottish New Year.
- New Year’s Day – Today has not always been New Year’s Day. The Romans had theirs in March. Since the Christian era began, the first day of the year has been variously Christmas Day, Lady Day (March 25), March 1 and Easter Day. In the 17th century most Christian countries settled on January 1. England, however, did not do so until 1752, giving up March 25 as New Year’s Day.
- Celtic Janus – In the Caldragh Graveyard on Boa Island, in County Fermanaugh (Northern Ireland) there is an ancient ‘Janus Figure’, a pre-christian idol. The same figure is carved into both sides of the stone, and has been compared to Roman idols of Janus (hence, the name).
- New Year’s Day – The ancient Slavic peoples and the Romans began their year in March, which makes a lot of sense seeing in the Northern Hemisphere that is the time of rebirth, the Spring Equinox. According to Jacob Grimm, he of the fairy tales, the Slavs and German peoples divided the year into two seasons: Winter and Summer.
- Give a fig – The ancient Romans gave figs and dates, covered with gold leaf, at New Year. They were sent by clients to their patrons, along with a little cash with which to purchase idols. Archaeologists have found pottery which has Happy New Year inscribed on it. The Emperor Claudius, however, banned New Year’s celebrations.
- A sweet gift – An orange stuck all over with cloves was a popular New Year’s gift in Merrie Olde England. It was to be hung in a container of wine, though not touching the liquid, to improve the fruit’s flavour and preserve it from mould.
- Mainz New Year – In Mainz, Germany, an ancient tradition is the Fassenacht, or Carnival, which begins on January 1 with a procession of the Mainz Guards. The President of the festivities carries a sceptre and bell, and all his committee sit at table wearing fools’ caps. A satirical speech in a falsetto voice is given by a man in drag. This strange Comité parades in a March of Fools (Narrhalla Marsch).
- Lucky pigs! – In Austria at New Year you might expect to eat roast suckling pig with a dessert of peppermint ice cream shaped like a four-leaved clover. Piglets, clovers and little chimney sweeps, all of marzipan and chocolate, are good luck symbols that traditionally adorn the Austrian table.
- Belgian letters – In an old custom, children in Belgium wrote respectful letters to their family elders during the month of December, reading them out at breakfast on New Year’s Day.
- Looking ahead – In an old English custom, people would take the first egg from a young hen to church on New Year’s Day. Those who were destined to die in the coming year would be revealed to the asker, wearing a crown of thorns.
- Happy Ndok! – In Nigeria there was formerly a men’s ritual festival held every other year in December and January, called Ndok. Because of its associations with renewal, not to mention the Coca-Colonization of Africa, gradually Ndok became identified with the West’s New Year celebrations. A masquerade, this cult involved the sacrifice of a rooster and the making of much noise.
- Crossroads traffic – The old Icelanders believed that on New Year’s Eve elves moved house and could be intercepted at crossroads by mortals. If not allowed to pass, the elves would bribe the humans with treasure or food. Nigerian members of the Ndok cult similarly believed that spirits could be found at crossroads on New Year’s Eve, and gathered there to confront them.
- Batty New Year – When Nigerian men engage in the Ndok, or New Year’s ceremony, they play low, droning sounds on a pipe covered at one end with the wing membrane of a bat. Women may only listen at a distance.
- Ndok sacrifice – When Nigerian men engage in the Ndok, or New Year’s ceremony, they sacrifice to their dead loved ones a rooster, the blood of which is sprinkled around a small tent erected on the grave of the departed. Later, they eat the bird.
- Do not try this, these people were medieval -In medieval Britain, it was the done thing to bribe magistrates with gifts on New Year’s Day. The custom was abolished by law in 1290, but for hundreds of years after, kings received their “tokens” at this time.
Austrian visit of the Magi – Between January 1 and 6 (Epiphany) Austrians may request a visit by the Magi, or Three Wise Men. They go through the home in elaborate costumes carrying a nativity crib and an incense burner (thurible), blessing its occupants. On leaving, the Magi will chalk their initials, K, M and B (for Kaspar, Melchior and Balthasar) plus the date over the door.
The Essington gift – More than 300 years ago there was a strange custom in Staffordshire, England. On New Year’s Day the lord of the Essington manor had to take to the manor of Lord Hilton, a goose, and drive it three times around Hilton’s hall fire. He then had to take the bird to the cook, who prepared it for Lord Hilton. It makes you wonder what sort of bet Essington’s ancestor had lost!
Coventry God cakes – So-called God-cakes were eaten in olden days at Coventry, England on this day. They were triangular, a bit more then one centimetre thick, and filled with mincemeat. The rich had to pay a penny for one, while the poor paid only a halfpenny.
New Year’s gifts – Until about the mid-nineteenth century, Britons and Europeans commonly gave gifts on New Year’s Day, a custom probably derived from the ancient Romans. Emperor Claudius prohibited the demanding of gifts except on this day. The French held on to the custom of New Year’s gift-giving longer than the British.
Have a capon – Many years ago in England, it was the custom for a tenant to give his landlord a capon for New Year.
Give a glove – Gloves were commonly given in Britain for New Year’s presents, or a sum of money (so called glove money) with which to buy them.
Dutch New Year – At this century’s beginning, a Dutch child would retire to bed at an early hour and rise early on New Year’s Day. It was customary for greeting cards to be in that day’s mail.
- Le Jour d’Etrennes, France – The French were once big on New Year’s Day which they called Le Jour d’Etrennes. A century ago it was estimated that one quarter in value of all jewellery sold in France was sold for New Year’s presents alone. Only women were exempted from the weighty obligation of buying expensive presents.
- French New Year commences with visits to friends and relatives. People enjoy bon-bons, a fine dinner and amusements such as cards and dancing.
The Peille Fête – An old French New Year’s custom was for young men to receive from the master of the local fête and the church minister (curé) an orange with a flower in it, which the lads presented to the girls. On September 8 the girls would reciprocate by giving the youths ribbons. This tradition was suppressed between 1791 and 1796 after the Revolution.
Letters to parents – In France, as in Belgium, children present to their parents on New Year’s Day (le Jour d’Etrennes) letters of respect which they have taken great pains to write during December. The children light candles on the mantelpiece and their parents traditionally give them presents. One such treat is a sweet-filled cone or cornet.
Highland Candlemas – The Christian feast day of Candlemas (aka Groundhog Day) is on February 2, but the Scottish highlanders also called today Candlemas because of their use of candles.
The Candlemas bull – Candlemas is on February 2, but the Scottish highlanders also called today Candlemas because of their use of candles. The Candlemas Bull was a cloud that highland imagination likened to that animal. By its shape and movement, it was said that the coming weather could be forecast, for good or ill.
Magic water – In old Scotland they used to drink, on New Year’s morning, usque-cashrichd, or water from “the dead and living ford”, as a magic charm against witchcraft, the evil eye and all evil for the coming year.
Scottish clean sweep – In old Scotland on New Year’s day a good highlander would first drink usque-cashrichd, or charmed water, then take a broom and sweep all the householders from bed. Then he would seal up all doors, windows and crevices and burn juniper branches. The smuchdan, or fumigation, which was also applied to the livestock, was thought to keep all from harm through the coming year.
Mu nase choil orst – These words mean “my Candlemas bond upon you” (“you owe me a gift”) and were spoken by Scottish highlanders of old to those they met on New Year’s Day. The one to say it first was owed a present by the other. The Scottish highlanders called New Year’s Day Candlemas, not to be confused with the Christian feast day on February 2 also known as Groundhog Day.
Burning the bush – An old custom for New Year’s Day in Radnorshire and Herefordshire, England, involved farmers burning at dawn a hawthorn branch (or bush) with its twigs bent to form a globe. They carried it over twelve ridges; if it went out before the twelfth, a bad year for crops was assured. They would extinguish the bush with cider, singing Auld cider! in a low monotone while bowing nine times for luck.
Hobby horse riding – In Sheffield, England, at least until very recently, the old hobby horse custom on New Year’s Day survived. Two men would sing from door to door:
- We have a poor old horse and he’s standing at your door
and if you wish to let him in, he’ll please you all I’m sure.
- A third man operated a hobby horse made from a pole, a cloth and a painted pony’s skull with red bottle-cap eyes.
Riding stang – From Westmoreland and Cumberland, England comes the ancient custom of riding stang. A stang was a staff used by two persons to carry a water vessel, a cowl. Crowds would gather on New Year’s Day and whoever would not join them was hoisted on a stang and carried to a pub where he could be liberated for sixpence. Women were treated with more dignity – and carried in baskets.
Moondance – On the Orkney isle of North Ronaldshay, there is a large stone about three metres tall, around which about fifty locals would dance on New Year’s Day, singing unaccompanied in an ancient rite.
Feast of Fools – In Medieval Britain, today was the Feast of Fools, also celebrated in Paris from about 1198-1438, a day of licensed jesting. It was a crazy day on which low clerical officials could swap places with the higher ones, a mock pope was elected and churchmen parodied religious rituals – for just one day.
- Tournament of Roses – The Tournament of Roses has been held in Pasadena, California, USA, on New Year’s Day since 1886, featuring a seemingly endless procession of floats beautifully garlanded with flowers. The day’s climax is the famous Rose Bowl football game.
Independence Day, Sudan – In honour of the sovereignty granted to this troubled nation on January 1, 1956, major events are held today in the capital city, Khartoum.
- Taiwan Foundation Days – (Founding of Republic of China, Taiwan) (Jan 1 – 2)
- This two-day holiday commemorates the founding of the Republic of China on January 1, 1912.
Independence Day, Western Samoa – Today’s celebrations in Western Samoa commemorate the Pacific nation’s declaration of independence from New Zealand on January 1, 1962.
Day of the Revolution, Cuba – Today is a national holiday, commemorating the end of Spanish rule in Cuba on this day in 1899.
- Independence Day, Haiti – Today honours the proclamation of Haiti’s independence by Jean Jacques Dessalines on January 1, 1804. The nation’s founder restored the original Indian name Haiti, meaning “land of mountains”.
- Today even the poor in Haiti will dress to the nines. Some Haitians believe that whatever happens on Independence Day is a foretaste of the coming year, so they dress well, visit friends, exchange gifts and have a feast.
Colonial Flag Day, USA – George Washington founded the Continental Army on January 1, 1776, and the new flag of the united colonies was first hoisted on that day, at Somerville, Massachusetts, where a memorial stands today.
Coon Carnival – This traditional holiday in Cape Town features colourful revelry similar to Rio’s Mardi Gras.
Emancipation Day, USA – Various American schools and institutions commemorate the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863.
Mobile Carnival, Mobile, Alabama – The big New Year’s celebrations in Mobile, Alabama, USA go back to 1831.
Mummers Day, Philadelphia – Since 1876 the people of Philadelphia, USA, have celebrated this day with fancy dress, fun bands, crazy clowns and mummers, medieval-style masked actors.
Polar Swim Day, Vancouver – Australia’s Bondi Icebergs Winter swimming club has some (frozen) stiff competition. Every New Year’s Day since 1920 swimmers have been plunging into the freezing waters of English Bay ,Vancouver, Canada. This bizarre ritual has been mimicked by a group south of the border, known as the American Polar Bears.
Happy Shihohai – Since 590 CE, Japan’s emperors have observed today, Shihohai, as one of their own special holidays, of which there are four. Today the emperor worships four directions: heaven, earth, mountains and stars.
Kamakura Matsuri, Japan – This festival on January 1 is held at the Tsurugaoka Shrine at Kamakura. There is a street parade and the grand spectacle of target shooting by horsemen dressed as Kamakura-period warriors.
Happy Okera Mairi – At the Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto, Japan, at dawn on New Year’s Day, the faithful celebrate Okera Mairi and take home some of the sacred fire that the priests have lit. With this fire, the year’s first meal will be cooked to ensure a year of good health.
Nagata Matsuri, Japan – The crowds amass today for the festival of Nagata Matsuri at Kobe, dedicated to an ancient Shinto deity, Koto-Shironushi-no-Mikoto, who looks after good luck and commercial success.
Shusho- E Matsuri, Japan (Jan 1 – 14) – In Osaka at Shitennoji Shrine today, the faithful pray for peace and a fruitful harvest.
- Hatsu-yume, Japan – In Japan, the first dream of the new year is believed to set the tone for the kind of year it’ll turn out to be. However, due to big day, the hatsu-yume (first dream of a new year) might be the dream had on the night of January 2. There is a historical record of a hatsu-yume dreamt by Emperor Suinin, who is said to have reigned around the fourth century. Legend has it that the three best dreams one can have are about Mount Fuji, hawks, and eggplants, and in that order.
- Takarabune ‘treasure ship’ – “The passengers are the Shichifukujin, the Seven Gods of Good Fortune. It’s said that if you sleep with a picture of the ship under your pillow at New Year’s, your first dream of the year will be an auspicious one.”
- “The ‘first dream’ was no laughing matter for people in the feudal period, though. They went to great lengths to make sure they had one of the good dreams – one way being to put under their pillows a drawing of a ship of treasures with the kanji (Sino-Japanese character) for treasure written on its sail. This became a common practice around Muromachi period (the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries), with people from all walks of life – from the most powerful military rulers to the common townspeople – sliding a drawing of a treasure ship under their pillows in the expectation that the year to come would bring them greater joy and prosperity.” Gogmagog festival, ancient Britain
- The festivity of ‘The Good Trip’ or the celebration of ‘Our Lord of the Seamen’ in Brazil (until January 4)
- Visit of the Magi (Austria), till January 6
- Feast day of St Adalbero of Liege
- Feast day of St Basil of Aix (Eastern Orthodox) – A fourth-century archbishop of Caesaria, Basil was a Doctor of the Church, that is, an important founder. He is a patriarch of Eastern Orthodox monks, commemorated on this day by Eastern churches but on June 14 in the West.
St Basil’s Day, Greece – On St Basil’s Day, Greek children go about carrying an apple, an orange, a paper ship, a paper star and a rod cut from a cornel-tree. They tap family members on the back for luck. When they go from door to door, householders give them treats.
- Customary acts in Greece today include fire-stoking and sprinkling wheat in backyards. The first person to enter the house today should be the head of the household, or a “lucky child”.
St Basil’s Day, Amorgos – On the Greek island of Amorgos, the hoped-for first person to enter the home on St Basil’s Day must be a family member returning from church, carrying an icon. He takes two steps inside, saying, “Come in good luck!”, then two steps back saying, “Out bad luck!” He repeats this three times then smashes a pomegranate on the floor. Then all family members eat honey with their fingers to ensure a sweet year ahead. Everyone then eats boiled wheat which is consecrated to St Basil.
Lucky Fido – On the Greek isle of Carpathos, a white dog is brought into the house today and fed baklava to ensure the householders’ strength of body and soul for the coming year.
St Basil’s cake – Today, both New Year’s Day and St Basil’s Day to Eastern Orthodox people, Greeks will eat a vasillopitta, or Basil-cake. The first slice is for the saint, the next slices for the family members, and then come the cattle and the poor.
St Basil’s lucky coin – When Greek people eat their vasillopitta (Basil-cake) today, St Basil’s Day, they will look for a gold coin baked in it, because the finder’s luck will continue all year.
St Basil’s visit – St Basil, like Santa Claus, visits children with toys, and does it today in Greece on his feast day. He also pops in to inspect the livestock, so a lot of grooming will have been going on in Greek stables lately.
- The children on the Isle of Skyros, leave out for his refreshment a bowl of water, two dishes of sweets or pancakes, and a pomegranate. At Aghiasos on the Greek isle of Lesbos, a table is set for St Basil and a log placed in the fire grate for the saint to step on when, like Santa Claus, he comes down the chimney. At Kydoniae in Asia Minor, a tray is left out for the visiting St Basil, so he can refresh himself with fish, jellied pork pie, fish, some vasillopitta (Basil-cake) and a glass of water.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> St Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
- Feast day of St Bonannus
- Feast day of Circumcision of the Lord (Circumcisio Domini, first commemorated 487 CE but now obsolete)
- “In the ages of paganism, however, the solemnization of the feast was almost impossible, on account of the orgies connected with the Saturnalian festivities, which were celebrated at the same time. Even in our own day the secular features of the opening of the New Year interfere with the religious observance of the Circumcision, and tend to make a mere holiday of that which should have the sacred character of a Holy Day. Saint Augustine points out the difference between the pagan and the christian manner of celebrating the day: pagan feasting and excesses were to be expiated by Christian fasting and prayer.”
- Feast of the Circumcision, Costa Rica
- In Costa Rica they celebrate this with their New Year’s events, such as bull fights, parades and carnivals.
Feast of the Circumcision, Syria – In Syria, Christian men and children visit one another to exchange presents and have coffee and pastries. Because the women are so busy entertaining, they do their visiting on January 2.
- Feast day of St Concordius of Spoleto
- Feast day of St Eugendus, or Oyend, abbot
- Feast day of St Fanchea of Rossory (or St Faine), virgin, of Ireland – (Laurustine, Viburnum Tinus, was designated today’s plant by medieval monks. It is dedicated to St Faine or Fanchea, virgin, of Ireland, whose feast day this is.) St Faine, or Fanchea, was an Irish virgin. Tradition says that once, St Endeus wanted to be a monk and told his friends, who tried to dissuade him. By offering a prayer to St Faine their feet stuck to the earth like stones, transfixing the scoffers until they repented.
- Feast day of St Felix of Bourges
- Feast day of St Fulgentius of Ruspe, bishop and confessor – Fulgentius, who died on this day in 533, went about barefoot, never undressed to go to bed, and refrained from eating meat. After his death, a bishop named Pontian was assured in a vision that Fulgentius would live forever, so he moved the saint’s body to Bourges, where his head was kept for centuries in the archbishop’s seminary.
- Feast day of the Martyred Soldiers of Rome
- Feast day of Mary, Mother of God – Today is also known as the Solemnity of Mary, a day of obligation in the Roman Catholic Church. It honours the Virgin Mary’s divine maternity.
- Feast day of St Mochua or Moncain, alias Claunus, abbot in Ireland
- Feast day of St Mochua, alias Cronan, of Balla, abbot in Ireland
- Feast day of St Mydwyn
- Feast day of St Odilo (or Olou), sixth abbot of Cluni – St Odile was the eleventh-century abbot who inaugurated All Soul’s Day (November 2) as an annual remembrance of the faithful dead.
- Feast day of St Peter of Atroa
- Feast day of St Telemachus (Almachus), martyr
- Feast day of St Valentin Paquay
- Feast day of St William of Dijon
- Feast day of St Zedislava Berka
- Unlucky day in 15th century England, Sed tamen in Domino confido (“But, notwithstanding I will trust the Lord”)
- Fumigating the house, Strathdown, Scottish highlands
- Kwanzaa, African-American holiday (Dec 26 – Jan 1)
- Vienna New Year’s Concert
- United States – Copyright Expiration Day, celebrating the expiration of the copyright of a year’s worth of works of authorship into the public domain. Not celebrated from 1978 to 2018 because of repeated copyright term extensions.
- Octave of Christmas, Catholic
- National Migration Week begins (Catholic (USA) – varying official support by the office of US President, not strictly religious)
- Establishment of Slovak Republic, Slovakia
1484 Ulrich Zwingli, Swiss radical church reformer
1729 Edmund Burke, British statesman and author (Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful; Reflections on the French Revolution)
1735 Paul Revere, American patriot who rode from Charlestown to Lexington to warn of the British advance
1752 Betsy Ross, American colonial woman reputed to have made the first American flag
1854 Sir James Frazer, English folklorist, author of the classic work on folklore, The Golden Bough – “ It is remarkable how common the belief appears to have been that the remains of the Yule log, if kept throughout the year, had power to protect the house against fire and especially against lightning. As the Yule log was frequently of oak, it seems possible that this belief may be a relic of the old Aryan creed which associated the oak-tree with the god of thunder.”
1863 Baron Pierre de Coubertin, French founder of the modern Olympics – Baron Pierre de Coubertin – The Olympic Games are ancient, and are even referred to several times in the Bible. The modern Olympic Games owe their existence to this nobleman, who was only in his twenties when he got the idea for reviving the ancient Olympics. The idea came to him while watching athletes competing in England. The first modern Olympic Games, thanks to Baron de Courbertin, were held in Athens in 1890. No thanks if you think there’s more than enough competition in the world.
1870 Henry Handel Richardson (born Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson), Australian author (The Fortunes of Richard Mahony)
1879 E(dward) M(organ) Forster, English author (A Room with a View; A Passage to India)
1879 William Fox (born William Friedman), Hungarian-born American film studio executive
1892 Manuel Roxas y Acuña, first president of the Philippine Republic
1895 J(ohn) Edgar Hoover, American founder and director of FBI from 1924 until his death
1900 Xavier Cugat, Spanish-born American bandleader
1909 Dana Andrews, American actor
1909 Barry M(orris) Goldwater, US senator
1912 Harold “Kim” Philby, English spy/Russian double agent
1919 J(erome) D(avid) Salinger, American author whose enduring fame rests on the achievements of only one novel (The Catcher in the Rye)
1920 Willie Fennell, Australian actor (Life With Dexter)
1936 David Lynch, American film director (Elephant Man) and TV writer/director (Twin Peaks)
1938 Caroline Jones, Australian broadcaster and journalist, the first female presenter of the ABC’s Four Corners
1942 Country Joe McDonald, American country-rock singer whose website proves that you never can tell what interests will captivate a person
Today in History
4713 BCE The first Julian Day – Astronomers and chronologists use a system of numbering days called Julian days or Julian day numbers – the term has no connection with the calendar of Julius Caesar which was introduced on this day in 46 BC. Yup, it’s confusing all right. It was developed by Joseph Scaliger (1554-1609); no one knows why he chose to start his system from January 1, 4713 BC, nor why he named it after his father, Julius.
Neil Armstrong walked on the moon on Julian Day 2,440,423 (July 20 1969 in US time).
153 BCE This day became the commencement of the Roman Civil year, when the Consuls entered office. This had previously occurred on March 15.
46 BCE Introduction of the Julian Calendar – Julius Caesar introduced a new calendar and it was so successful it was used in Europe until Pope Gregory introduced his updated version in 1582. In fact, England used the Julian Calendar until 1752, and the Soviet Union did not discard it until 1918. It was Julius Caesar, in his radical innovation of 46 BC, who decreed that every fourth year should contain 366 days, thus introducing the Leap Year. It was also Caesar – or, at least his astronomers – who divided the months into the number of days they still contain today.
193 BCE A temple to Vediovis was dedicated in Rome. Vediovis, a god representing a young Jove, or Jupiter (juvenis or juvenile) was honoured on January 1.
30 BCE The first day of the ‘era of Actium’, according to 19th century scholars.
1 Commencement of the Christian Era.
193 CE Pertinax became emperor of Rome.
404 Last gladiator competition in Rome.
1308 In order to fight the Austrian oppressors of their native Switzerland, the great Swiss patriot, William Tell, formed a fighting band with some countrymen. – “(11 April 2000, Kentucky, USA) Larry and his friend Silas decided to reenact the William Tell scene where the famous archer is forced to test his prowess by shooting an apple off his son’s head. But instead of apples, they used a beer can, which was closer to hand. You might suspect that the pair were teenagers, but in fact they were grown men of 47. Larry put the beer can on his head and urged Silas to shoot. But Silas missed the can, fatally wounding his lifelong friend Larry on Tuesday night. Authorities said the men had been drinking, and that the shooting was not prompted by an earlier altercation in the parking lot.”
1600 The British East India Company was given its charter by Queen Elizabeth I.
1622 In the Gregorian calendar, January 1 was declared by the Pope as the first day of the year, instead of, for example, March 25 in England.
1630 Death of Thomas Hobson (born in 1544), the Cambridge University carrier who only rented out horses in the strict order which he approved, giving rise to the expression “Hobson’s choice” – it is this choice and no other.
1651 Charles II was crowned King of the Scots, the last King crowned at Scone, Scotland.
1660 General Monk commenced his march from Scotland to London. This march helped to bring about the Restoration. His army of six or seven thousand men set out from the village of Coldstream, Berwickshire, a name later given to the famous regiment, the Coldstream Guards.
1660 Diarist Samuel Pepys began the work for which he is remembered, his daily journal, a project he continued until May 31 1669.
1701 Swiss Protestants abolished the Gregorian calendar replacing it with the Gregorian calendar.
1766 The “Old Pretender”, James Stuart, father of Bonnie Prince Charlie, died.
1785 London publisher John Walter established the first issue of Daily Universal Register, three years later named The Times.
1789 Today was a public holiday in New South Wales, according to David Collins, the Judge Advocate in the new colony.
1800 Scotland: Socialist planner Robert Owen assumed control of the mills at New Lanark.
1801 The Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland came into effect, creating the United Kingdom.
1801 Sicilian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi discovered Ceres, a 1,030 km-diameter asteroid.
1804 Haiti became the first Latin American colony to declare its independence from its European master, following an eleven-year slave rebellion.
1808 The Congress of the United States banned the African slave trade.
1810 Major General Lachlan Macquarie took up office as the fifth Governor of NSW.
1812 Luddite property attacks on the Notts/ Derbyshire border, UK.
1814 London’s great Frost Fair – Making the most of the frozen River Thames, Londoners created a ‘Frost Fair’ on the ice. The day before, the ice on the Thames had grown so thick that people dared to walk over it. On New Year’s Day, fortunately a holiday, it seems the whole of London emerged to enjoy the stalls being set up on the ice. One enterprising marketeer put a sheep on a spit, selling what he advertised as ‘Lapland Mutton’. Even a printer set up shop on the frozen river, selling cards. There were also Frost Fairs in 1789 and 1740, and in early 1684 the river was frozen for seven weeks.
1821 Missouri began taxing bachelors.
1830 Four hotels in Fremantle became Western Australia’s first licensed premises.
1831 US: First issue of “The Liberator”, William Lloyd Garrison’s abolitionist paper.
1832 First meeting of the New England Anti-Slavery Society, USA.
1838 Melbourne’s Advertiser began publication.
1840 The first ten-pin bowling tournament was held, USA.
1842 Afghan guerrillas defeated the British imperial army at Kabul.
1845 The Australian Mutual Provident (AMP) Society began in Sydney.
1850 Australians now had their own adhesive postage stamps with the issue of the one penny crimson lake ‘Sydney View’. Standard postage was introduced at the same time: a penny for a letter locally, twopence for a letter interstate, and threepence for an overseas letter.
1853 First practical fire engine (horse-drawn) in US entered service.
1855 The Colonial Sugar Refinery (CSR) Ltd was established, in Sydney.
1856 Queen Victoria approved a petition to rename Van Diemen’s Land, Tasmania, in honour of Dutch navigator Abel Tasman.
1863 Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves.
1877 Queen Victoria became Empress of India.
1881 Postal orders were first issued in Britain.
1889 The US State of New York made a great leap forward with the adoption of the electric chair for capital punishment.
1889 Nietzsche had a nervous breakdown seeing a horse whipped by a cab driver.
1901 Proclamation of the Commonwealth of Australia
Australia’s first Governor-General, John Hope, made the proclamation at Centennial Park, Sydney. The NSW Protectionist Party leader, Edmund Barton, became the nation’s first prime minister.
1909 When French author, Marcel Proust, on about this date, dipped a piece of toast in his tea, the flavor brought back a rush of childhood memories that become the basis for the famous madeleine episode in Swann’s Way, from which the structure of Remembrance of Things Past evolved.
1904 Earl Russell was issued the first British motor vehicle registration plate, A1, for his ‘Napier’.
1905 Russia relinquished Port Arthur to the Japanese.
1905 In Italy, Belgian Henri Oedenkoven founded the world’s first vegetarian organisation.
And some more …
1907 The Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology was founded, Melbourne, Australia.
1909 The United Kingdom instituted old age pensions: five shillings per week to citizens more than 70 years of age.
1911 The Commonwealth of Australia took over control of the former Northern territory of South Australia.
1911 Opening in New York of a ‘Modern School’ founded by the Ferrer Association, with the assistance of Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman.
1913 Film censorship began in Britain.
1913 The streets of Hobart were illuminated by electricity for the first time.
1915 Two Turks attacked a New Year’s Day picnic train near Broken Hill, NSW; two men were killed and six injured in the ensuing battle.
1927 The BBC was constituted, UK.
1930 Australia: A Sydney to Brisbane air service began, provided by Australian National Airlines, owned by Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm.
1934 Two days of heavy rain flooded the Los Angeles Basin, killing 45.
1947 The British government nationalised the coal industry.
1947 Britain stopped minting silver money, switching instead to cupro-nickel “ersatz’ silver. Maundy money remained silver-based.
1948 The British railways were nationalised by Clement Atlee’s Labor government.
1950 Cowboy star Hopalong Cassidy made his debut on radio.
1952 Hank Williams died in the back of his Cadillac.
1955 The USA began financial aid to South Vietnam.
1956 The Independence of Sudan was proclaimed.
1958 The European Economic Community came into being. The member states were France, Italy, West Germany, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg.
1959 Fidel Castro’s Communists took over Cuba as dictator Fulgencio Batista fled.
1961 The British farthing ceased to be legal tender.
1961 “The Pill” – the oral contraceptive tablet – was launched in Britain.
1961 John, Paul, George and Ringo were rejected for signing by Dick Rowe at Decca Records, London.
1963 The semi-dressed bodies of Dr Gilbert Bogle and Margaret Chandler were discovered in bush at Lane Cove National Park, Sydney. Both had last been seen alive at a New Year’s Eve party. The mystery of the reasons for their death and even its cause has never been solved, although rumours persist about a connection with wife-swapping as well as national security agencies. It remains one of the nation’s most famous unsolved crimes.
1966 In the early hours of the New Year, 19-year-old Alex Cleghorn and his two brothers were walking along Govan Rd, Glasgow, engaged in “first-footing” (the Scottish New Year’s custom). Mr Cleghorn suddenly was not with his brothers any more, and was never seen again.
1970 China and the USA established full diplomatic relations.
1973 Britain, Ireland and Denmark entered the EEC.
1974 For the first time, New Year’s Day was celebrated as a British national public holiday.
1975 Watergate conspirators John Ehrlichman, HR Haldeman and John Mitchell were found guilty of obstructing the course of justice.
1976 Two young girls playing in a backyard some 5 miles south of Harlingen, Texas, reported seeing a “horrible-looking” black bird of enormous size. Other reports followed, some seemingly indicating that the creature was a pterosaur: A winged reptile that should have gone extinct with the dinosaurs. The sightings faded away in a few months, but some people still wonder what caused them.
1977 The Australian Broadcasting Tribunal came into being.
1977 The Clash headlined the gala opening of the Roxy, a former gay disco in London’s Covent Garden, circumventing the widespread London club ban on punk groups, and immediately became the place for punk music.
1978 Dissenting South African newspaperman, Donald Woods, fled to Lesotho after escaping from his London house arrest.
1979 Date-stamping of foodstuffs commenced in Australia.
1981 Greece entered the EEC as its tenth member.
1983 Anti-nuke protesters danced in missile silos at Greenham Common, UK.
1984 Brunei proclaimed independence from Britain.
1990 Romania abolished the death penalty, and banned the secret police, the Securitate. A week earlier agents of the new regime had executed dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife.
1991 President Ramiz Alia of Albania, promised his countrymen that 43 years of communist dictatorship would end with democratic elections.
1993 Czechoslovakia peacefully divided into two independent countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
1994 Yitzhak Rabin, Yasser Arafat, FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela were chosen Time magazine’s Men of the Year. Time was quick to point out that annual selection relates to historical influence, and not whether the subject(s) have had a good influence or not.
2000 Control of the Panama Canal will revert to Panama.
2002 Most of the nations of Europe adopted the Euro as the new unit of currency.
2002 USA: Mercer, Pennsylvania, swore in new mayor – a 19-year-old high-school student.
Silliness – Snow Riddles – Q; How does a Snowman travel around the Neighborhood? A: He rides his icycle.