Why People Kiss On New Year's Eve - Strange Origins Behind The Tradition

When the clock strikes midnight this evening, many of us will be reaching for a loved one to give them a kiss.
Although it's a nice way to ring in the new year, the tradition has origins rooted in ancient cultures and superstition. 
According to German and English folklore, the first person you encounter in the New Year determines whether you have good or bad fortune in the year ahead.

So kissing your partner at the stroke of midnight is meant to indicate that your relationship will be strong throughout 2019.
But if you're too busy at the bar when the clock chimes then this could jinx your love life for the next 364 days. This obviously isn't true, but it can be a fun superstition.
The tradition has also been traced back to the Romans, who would indulge in a booze-fuelled party for the pagan celebration Saturnalia towards the end of December.
So some believe that giving someone a smooch at the stroke of midnight is a tamer version of this ancient tradition.
Kissing at midnight was also tradition during the Renaissance, when masquerade balls were popular across Europe.
At midnight, people would remove their masks, and kisses were a way of purifying each other from evil. It was a way of starting the new year with a clean slate, according to Joanne Wannan, author of Kisstory: A Sweet and Sexy Look at the History of Kissing.
During Hogmanay, the Scottish new year celebration, it is tradition to give a kiss to everyone in the room - not just the one person - and the idea is to connect friends and strangers. 
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