I am blood brother to Dyami, he whom you call Samuel McCord.
The Yule log is burning down to its last embers. The shadows are gathering closer. There are portents breathed on the midnight wind.
Man in his smug civilized arrogance is ignorant of so much.
Did you know that a Yule log must NOT be bought and it must be kept burning all night, or that a dog that howls on Christmas Eve will go mad before Year's End?
Because I care for you, my friends, I will tell you of all the portents surrounding New Year's Eve like a shroud:
|Empty pockets or empty cupboards on New Years |
Eve portend a year of poverty.
|If the first person to cross the threshold |
of a house after midnight on New Years is a
dark-haired man, and he carries a shovel full of coal,
then a year of good luck will follow.
|It is bad luck to let a fire go out |
on New Year's Eve.
|You could insure yourself good fortune by |
draining the last dregs from a bottle of drink
on New Years!
|The Weather: |
If the wind blows from the south,
there will be fine weather and
prosperous times in the year ahead.
If it comes from the north,
it will be a year of bad weather.
The wind blowing from the east
brings famine and calamities.
If the wind blows from the west,
the year will witness plentiful supplies
of milk and fish but will also see
the death of a very important person.
If there's no wind at all,
a joyful and prosperous year may
be expected by all.
|Loud Noise: |
Make as much noise as possible at midnight
to scare away evil spirits.
|Letting the Old Year Out: |
At midnight, all the doors of a house
must be opened to let the old year
He must leave before the New Year can
come in, says popular wisdom,
so doors are flung open to assist him
in finding his way out.
|To dance in the open air, especially round a tree,|
on New Year's Day is declared
to insure luck in love and prosperity
and freedom from ill health
during the coming twelve months.
|Children born on New Year's Day |
bring great fortune and prosperity
to all the household.
|On New Year's Day if, on rising, |
a girl should look out of her
bedroom window and see a man passing by,
she may reckon to be married before the year
|Clocks should be wound up immediately |
the New Year begins in order to endow
the house with good fortune,
while all daily cleaning and dusting
should be completed early in the day
of December 31 in order to avoid
the danger of sweeping good luck
from the house.
Avoid breaking things on that first day
lest wreckage be part of your year.
Also, avoid crying on the first day
of the year lest that activity set
the tone for the next twelve months
Do not pay back loans or lend money
or other precious items on New Year's Day.
To do so is to guarantee you'll be
paying out all year.
|New Clothes: |
Wear something new on January 1st
to increase the likelihood of your
receiving more new garments
during the year to follow.
Make sure to do -- and be successful at --
something related to your work
n the first day of the year,
even if you don't go near
your place of employment that day.
Limit your activity to a token amount,
though, because to engage in a serious
work project on that day is very unlucky.
|Black-Eyes Peas: |
A tradition common to the Southern part
of the United States says that the eating
of black-eyed peas on New Year's Day
will attract both general good luck
and money in particular to
the one doing the dining
|A person who lives alone might |
place a lucky item or two in a basket
that has a string tied to it,
and then place the basket
just outside the front door before midnight.
After midnight, the lone celebrant
hauls in his catch, being careful
to bring the item across the doorjamb
by pulling the string
rather than by reaching out to retrieve it
and thus breaking the plane of the threshold.
|Nothing Goes Out: Nothing -- |
absolutely nothing, not even garbage --
is to leave the house on the first day of the year.
If you have presents to deliver on New Year's Day,
leave them in the car overnight.
Don't so much as shake out a rug or
take the empties to the recycle bin.
Some people soften this rule by saying
it's okay to remove things
from the home on New Year's Day,
provided that something else
has been brought in first.
|Just as the clock strikes twelve |
the head of the house should open the door
in order to allow the Old Year
to pass out and the New Year to come in.
|Kissing at midnight: |
To ensure that those affections and ties
will continue throughout the next twelve months.
To not do this would be
to set the stage for a year of coldness.
|Stocking Up: |
The New Year must not be seen
in with bare cupboards,
lest that be the way of things for the year.
Larders must be topped up
and plenty of money must be placed
in every wallet in the place
o guarantee a prosperous year.
|Paying Off Bills: |
The new year should not be begun
with the household in debt,
so checks should be written and mailed off
prior to January 1st.
Likewise, personal debts should be
settled before the New Year arrives.
|First Footing: |
The first person to enter your home
after the stroke of midnight will influence the year
you're about to have.
Ideally, he should be dark-haired, tall,
and good-looking, and
it would be even better if he came
bearing certain small gifts
uch as a lump of coal, a silver coin,
a bit of bread, a sprig of evergreen,
and some salt.
Blonde and redhead first footers bring bad luck,
and female first footers should be
shooed away before they bring
disaster down on the household.
|First Footing: |
The first footer should knock
and be let in rather than just using a key.
After greeting those in the house
and dropping off whatever small tokens
of luck he has brought with him,
he should make his way through the house
and leave by a different door
than the one through which he entered.
No one should leave the premises
before the first footer arrives --
he first traffic across the threshold
must be headed in rather than striking out.
|First footers must not be cross-eyed |
or have flat feet or eyebrows
that meet in the middle.
|Squint-eyed, flat-footed, |
or red-haired men bring bad luck.
If they are first-footers,
and so does a woman.
But a man with a high instep,
or one who comes on a horse,
is considered particularly lucky.
Excuse me, children, Cate Blanchett has
just entered Meilori's,
and I intend to dance round the Yule tree
with her to tweak the nose of Roland.
Be sure to read for FREE CHAPTER 5
in LOVE IN THE TIME OF THE UNDEAD: