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Irish New Year Traditions

Ward Gahan

Celebrating The New Year

In Ireland, we do welcome in the new year, but our traditions are a bit different than how you celebrate in the U.S.

You’re aware of our Irish hospitality, and New Year’s is no exception when it comes to inviting family and friends to our homes to welcome the new year ahead with some drinks and food, of course. If you’re not at someone’s home, chances are you’re at a local pub. 

As you may expect, we do have some centuries-old traditions of welcoming the year ahead.


In many parts of Ireland it was thought that a clean house was the best way to begin the New Year. You’ve heard the phrase, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness,” and I must say the Irish do a good job proving this to be true. As was typical, the brunt of the cleaning started with the mother, with the help from her children. The whole idea behind having a clean house was a ‘fresh start’ to the year which would undoubtedly make it a great one.


In many Irish homes, they believed that whoever was the first through their front door at the start of the New Year would be a tell-tale sign of how the year would fare. Should a handsome lad be the first, it would mean good luck. However, should a woman, especially those with red hair, be the first over the threshold, it was sadly bad luck. 

It may not be a surprise that some families would just happen to have a handsome man at the ready to ensure a lucky year. 


A more somber Irish tradition for the new year would be to set a place at the table for those family members who had passed and leave it empty. In some families, they would leave the front door unlocked, allowing the spirit (s) of their loved ones to easily return to the family home. 

No matter how you celebrate the new year, we certainly hope it's a good one! 

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Owner & CEO Ward Gahan
A Little About Us is a global online retailer for beautifully handcrafted Celtic gifts. We work with a variety of Irish artisans to source authentic jewelry, clothing, and home goods that make unique Irish gifts for all occasions. Some of our best sellers include Celtic Crosses, Trinity Knot necklaces, Irish blessings for the home, and gorgeous wool Irish caps, aran knit sweaters, scarves and blankets. We offer free shipping site wide as well as free returns and easy exchanges.

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