7 Ways To Improve Your Luck In the New Year

Read why you might want to skip the wings (but go for the donuts!) as you ring in the New Year...

The New Year is right around the corner, a time we set aside for ushering out the old and bringing in the new. Throughout history, most cultures have drawn an association between a person’s actions on New Year’s Day and their fate during the year. Here are a few New Year’s superstitions, taboos, folklore, and old wives tales—including the many food superstitions—still in general circulation.

New Year’s Folklore and Superstitions

1. First Kiss

couple kissing at midnight on new year's eve

One of the more popular beliefs is that kissing your beloved at the stroke of midnight ensures twelve months of continuing affection. Failing to do so is said to produce the opposite effect.

2. Debt Free

Never begin the New Year with unpaid debts.

3. Bare Cupboards?

Closeup of a woman looking in an empty pantry. Seen from behind there is only one box of food. Horizontal format.

Empty cupboards at the turn of the year foretell a year of poverty.

4. Comings and Goings

The first person to enter your home after midnight foretells the kind of luck you’ll have in the coming year. A tall, dark, handsome male bearing small gifts is said to bring the best luck. According to this same tradition, no one should leave the house until someone first enters from outside, and nothing should be removed from the house on New Year’s Day.

5. Air It Out!

Woman opening the window to take in fresh air.

Opening all doors and windows at midnight lets the old year escape.

6. Happy Lucky Birthday!

Babies born on New Year’s Day are said to have the best luck throughout their lives.

7. Rise And Shine

Beautiful young girl lying in bed. Young beautiful, woman waking up fully rested.

A Polish tradition states that if you wake up early on New Year’s Day, you will wake up early for the rest of the year. And if you touch the floor with the right foot when getting up from bed, you could expect a lot of good luck for whole new year

New Year’s Food Superstitions and Traditions

  • In Italy, eating chiacchiere (carnival fried pastry), guarantees a sweet year – see recipe below!
  • In Spain, and many Latin countries, eating 12 grapes on New Year’s Eve—one for each stroke of midnight—is said to bring luck throughout the coming year.
  • According to a Pennsylvania “Dutch” (German) tradition, eating pork and sauerkraut brings good luck in the New Year.
  • Eating anything that forms a circle—such as donuts and bagels—leads to good fortune in the coming year.
  • German folklore says that eating herring at the stroke of midnight will bring luck for the next year.
  • Eating pickled herring as the first bite of food of the New Year brings good luck to those of Polish descent.

But Don’t Eat These…

It’s also suggested you should not eat certain things on New Year’s Eve, in order to prevent bad luck for the year ahead, such as lobster and chicken. Since lobsters can move backwards, eating them before the stroke of midnight may cause setbacks.

For chickens, the idea is similar as they can scratch backwards. Other types of winged fowl are also discouraged as your good luck could fly away.

While many of these traditions are based on mere superstition, the idea that what we do on the first day of the New Year affects our entire year remains popular. Choose your actions carefully!

This article was published by the staff at Farmers' Almanac. Interested in becoming a guest author? Contact us to let us know!

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Sean A Brown

for us, it is a mix. I am PA Dutch traditions (pork & sauerkraut) and my wife is S.C. southern, so we also have blackeyed peas, collard greens and ham.


my dad is S.C. southern too! we had black eyed peas, collard greens and cornbread for lunch. my mom and I are Dutch with PA Dutch ancestors, so we mixed in some ham as well.


Black eyed peas setting beside the stove with ham chunks to add to the peas in the fridge will be eating it tomorrow 2022

Last edited 5 months ago by Howard
Janet Sheffield

I’m lazy, I love my crockpot! I start dry beans (any kind) in warm water. Cook on low all night


I’ve heard that eating pork on New years means you will be forging ahead and if you eat chicken you’ll always be scratching?

Susan Higgins

Hi Sharon, close. According to the traditions and superstitions, pork does represent forging ahead but chickens mean you’ll have “setbacks” because they can move backwards. Just like lobsters.


My dad has been telling me since I was a little kid never to eat chicken on New Year’s Day. He’d also be ready with the pickled herring, a tradition I just introduced to my kids last night!


I just found out not to eat chicken. I had it for dinner.


I to just found out not to eat chicken n also had it for dinner.


No chicken on 1/1 but eat your grapes 🍇


This year. No one is to say “Happy New Year”, instead we are to yell “JUMANJI” this is to insure that we leave 2020 behind~!!!



Karen McMurtrie

EVEN though Im a Maniac by birth I lived in the south so we have black eyed peas EVERY New Years!


Thank you!! All new year traditions sound great!
Happy new year!!!


this is cool stuff to learn no sweeping no washing laundry on new year’s

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