New Year’s and Twelfth Day Traditions

Happy New Year - champagne and party decoration

It’s only been since 1752 when England adopted the Gregorian calendar that January 1st was considered the first day the year. Until then, Lady Day (March 25) had that honor. In Regency times, New Year’s was considered rather a minor holiday between two major holidays—Christmas and Twelfth Night.

New Year’s was associated with superstition. The family would sit around in a circle before midnight, and when the clock struck, the head of the family would go to the door and open it and usher in the New Year. People would clear their homes of old scraps and perishable food so as not to carry it over into the new year and court bad luck.

The singing of Aulde Lang Syne, which is loosely translated as “days gone by,” began as a Scottish celebration which traveled to England when Robert Burns published the lyrics in 1796.

Twelfth Day was the twelfth day of Christmas, or Epiphany, when the three wise men and shepherds came to honor the Christ child. In many parts of the world, January 6 is the day presents are exchanged, since that was the day the young Christ child received his gifts. Twelfth Night is considered by some to be the night before Twelfth Day, thus January 5.

On Twelfth Night, a special “king” cake is baked containing a bean and a pea. The person who finds the bean in his/her piece is the king of the evening’s festivities and whoever finds the pea is the queen. Check out this king cake recipe by Emeril Lagasse. The king cake started out as an English/French tradition, but has spread to Spain and other countries. In New Orleans, Twelfth Night or Epiphany is considered to be the beginning of Carnival, which culminates at Mardi Gras, where the king cake remains an important tradition today. During the Carnival season, people hold weekly king cake parties, and whoever finds the small baby token (representing the Christ child) has to hold next week’s party.

Off With the Old, On With the New

The old year, with its struggles and heartaches, is gone, and the new year, with all of its hopes and possibilities, is in front of us. No doubt that is why many of us tend to use this time to reflect on the past year and plan some “course corrections” for the future. When you look back on 2013 a year from now, what would you like to have accomplished?

Because once the year is over, you won’t be getting it back to do over. Keep that goal in front of you at all times and whatever happens, enjoy the journey as well as the destination.

A toast to a prosperous 2013 to each and every one of you!

 Carrie Ann’s New Year’s Blog Hop & Contest

One lucky commenter—chosen at random—will win a $20 Amazon gift card at the end of the blog hop. Be sure to include your email address in the comment so that I can contact you (and to be eligible for Carrie Ann’s Grand Prizes, which include a Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet, a $300 Amazon or B & N gift card, and a swag pack of books and all kinds of goodies (the swag pack is US only; the others are international).

January 7, 2013: Congrats to latishajean, who is the winner of the $20 Amazon gift from Susana’s Parlour. Happy reading!

Susana’s Treasuring Theresa Weekly Giveaways Begin January 3

Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

To celebrate the release of Treasuring Theresa, Susana is hosting a series of contests on her web site ( for the month of January. All you have to do is answer a question about the Regency period and your name will be entered for the next drawing. Winners will be chosen on January 9, 16, 23, and 31.

To continue on your journey through Carrie Ann’s New Year’s Blog Hop, click below.

Floral Background in Black and Gold Colors

64 thoughts on “New Year’s and Twelfth Day Traditions

  1. I have another superstition for you: It was believed if the first person to enter a household in the New Year was a dark-haired male, you would have good luck the year through.

    Happy New Year, and thank you so much for participating in this hop!
    tp DOT quixotic AT gmail DOT com


  2. Hi! Happy New Years! Thanks for the awesome hop and all the giveaways! This is so fun! I love these hops! I always meet new authors, reconnect with old ones and my TBR list grows by leaps and bounds! Thank you!! Have a great day! Best wishes and many blessings to you!


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