Saturday, January 1, 2022

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Did you know that New Year’s Eve wasn’t always celebrated in December? It’s true. The Ancient Roman calendar used to follow the lunar cycle, which had the new year beginning in March. A
stronomer Sosigenes convinced Julius Caesar to follow the solar year, instead, so from 46 B.C. on, the new year began in January.

The earliest New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day celebrations date back to Mesopotamia times, but I’d like to tell you about some interesting ways people in the Victorian era commemorated the new year.


Wealthy Victorians held open houses, inviting all the local eligible bachelors into their homes to meet their unmarried daughters. What followed was kin to our modern-day “speed-dating.” A young man would likely receive invitations from quite a few households and would spend 15 minutes or so chatting with the resident young woman (or women) therein before moving on to his next engagement.


At midnight on New Years’ Eve, bells were rung to symbolize good’s victory over evil and to bring hope for peace and happiness in the year ahead.

The Threshold

The threshold held significance among Victorians. It represented the passing from one year to the next. At the stroke of midnight, the front door was flung open and the new year was greeted with shouts of “Welcome! Welcome!” Then the head of the household would throw a cake against the door to ensure a year without hunger.

The first person to cross the threshold after midnight was believed to foretell the family’s fortune for the year. If this person came bearing gifts (usually of coal, spices, sweets, and whiskey), this was seen as a sure sign of prosperity for the year ahead. If it was a dark-haired male, good fortune lay ahead. If it was a blonde, troubles loomed.

Phantom Balls

Middle class Victorians would attend what were known as “Phantom Balls.” These were parties which called for ghostly costumes, card games, and even a bit of football for the men.

New Clothes

A new suit of clothing was worn on the first of the year to symbolize fresh beginnings and a leaving behind of all the past year’s hardships.

Clover & Swine

As the Victorians did for all special holidays and occasions, postcards were sent to loved ones bearing well wishes. Pigs and clover were considered bearers of good fortune and thus were often featured in the illustrations of New Year tidings.

Giving Gifts

Sending cards and small gifts of fruit, spices, and money were thought to be practices that would encourage the generosity of the Fates in the coming year.

Cleaning the Fireplace

Cleaning out the ashes from the fireplace was to be done on New Year’s Eve as a sign of sweeping away all the past year’s ills and ushering in the new year with a clean slate. Additionally, one was not to leave the house on New Year’s Day holding any kind of flame, whether it's a candle or lamp.

Pocket Money

Victorians were sure to have a bit of money in their pockets on New Year’s Day in order to ward against poverty and misfortune in the new year.

Last chance to get Gabriel's Atonement for just 99¢. 

Gambler Gabe Coulter is confronted by a drunken cowboy who wants his money back. Gabe refuses and a gunfight ensues. The dying man tells Gabe the money was for his wife and son. Though the shooting was self-defense, Gabe wrestles with guilt. The only way he knows to get rid of it is to return the money he fairly won to the man’s widow. Lara Talbot sees Gabe as a derelict like her husband and refuses his help. But as she struggles to feed her family, she wonders if God might have sent him to help.

Other books in the series:

Joline's Redemption
Sarah's Surrender -

Get the whole series for $10.99. That's nearly one thousand pages of exciting reading!

Vickie McDonough is the CBA, EPCA and Amazon best-selling author of 50 books and novellas. Vickie grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead, she married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams penning romance stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie’s books have won numerous awards including the Booksellers Best, OWFI Best Fiction Novel Award, the Inspirational Readers’ Choice awards.

No comments:

Post a Comment