“Good-bye, kind year, we walk no more together,
But here in quiet happiness we part.”
– Sarah Doudney
Among the various superstitions surrounding the advent of the New Year is the nearly mandatory practice of noise-making at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Now looked upon as mere revelry, it once was considered protection against evil spirits, who would be scared off by all of the noise.
Whistling, however, is strictly taboo; to whistle is to converse with the devil or invite him in. Sailors, actors and actresses, and miners are particularly cognizant of the ill luck associated with whistling. On board ship, whistling is thought to raise a storm. In the theatre, it is believed to close the show prematurely. For miners, it is a sign of alarm.
A whistling girl and a crowing hen,
Always come to no good end.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, to focus on the future, one should write down one’s regrets on a scrap of paper and toss it into a fire. Janus, the two-faced god of the New Year, will approve.
Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? I don’t, as a rule, simply because they’re too easily broken. But I do believe that a new year is a perfect time to set new goals — do you have goals in mind for 2009? Regrets to toss in the fire?