New Year’s Eve in Jane Austen’s time

Now that christmas is over, it’s time to prepare ourselves to the new year! I don’t know how people are used to celebrate this date all around the world, but here in Brazil we have our own customs. For example: almost everyone wears white chothes and at midnight there are fireworks in the sky. But how did people celebrate back in Georgian period?

One thing is for certain: it was different from our ways, although a few traditions have endured through time.

For starters, new year’s eve was settled in a very festive season – from early december to january, 6 –, so I think it’s safe to say that it wasn’t “just another day”. And I like to remember, always, that boys would come back home from school during the holidays, so it was a joyful period.

And it was a day full of superstitions, although it’s good to emphasize that these superstitions were more common among the poor. For example: in some houses, the family would seat forming a circle and wait for the new year. When the clock marked midnight, the chief of the family would open the door to scare the old year away and welcome the new one. And they used to sing Auld Lang Syne, just like nowadays. This was a custom that originated in Scotland during the 18th century, and that began in England around 1796, when Robert Burns, a scottish poet, published the lyrics.

I hope you enjoyed! And with my best wishes to you all, I say goodbye to the blog this year and promisse that in 2019 we’re back with lots of posts!

With love, Roberta.

Image: Pinterest

Sources: Jane Austen’s England, Roy e Lesley Adkins

Jane Austen’s World (here, here e here)

Kristen Koster

Posted by Roberta Ouriques


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