Irish New Year’s Traditions

As 2015 comes to a close, we are excited to celebrate as the clock strikes midnight and eager to see what 2016 will bring. Around the world people will be counting down the seconds, and will start the new year refreshed with a bright outlook for the year ahead. Both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are full of traditions in cultures across the globe, and there are plenty of these traditions in Ireland as well. Here are a few to get you inspired, or to help bring a bit of the Emerald Isle to your New Year’s celebrations.

Clean Start

The Irish are big on starting the year off with a clean slate (and clean floors, clean closets, etc). While some might wait Spring for a big cleaning, New Year’s is the traditional time to clean the house in preparation for a new year with a fresh start.

A Whole Lot of Luck

In Gaelic, New Year’s Day is known as the Day of the Buttered Bread. As the New Year is often thought to bring hope for prosperity, buttered bread was a symbol of faith and hope for a year without hunger. The even more popular use for bread during the New Year involved banging loaves of bread on the walls of a house, in order to ward off evil spirits and bad luck

Photo by Jeffrey W

Photo by Jeffrey W


In addition to the bread, the Irish have a few other superstitions around New Year’s. If someone invites you over, expect them to let you in the front door, but you might be asked to leave using the back door, in order to prevent bad luck. Once New Year’s Day arrives, the first visitor to pass through the front door will determine the type of luck the household will encounter during the year- a tall, dark and handsome man brings good luck, while a red-haired woman is said to bring grief and hardship to those inside.

Speaking of handsome men and women, for those without someone to kiss at midnight, tradition dictates that a single person could place a twig of holly under their pillow, allowing them to see their true love in their dreams.

An Irish Blessing

Irish culture brings us great blessings and sayings that are perfect for year round inspiration, and the New Year is no different. Here are a few of our favorite:

“In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, and never in need.”

And our wish to you for 2016-

“May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light. May good luck pursue you each morning and night.”

We look forward to celebrating with you in the New Year!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *