When the clock strikes midnight on December 31 couples everywhere ring in the new year with a smooch. But have you ever wondered why people kiss on New Year’s Eve? Turns out, we can thank a lot of ancient cultures for the tradition.
The ancient Romans welcomed the winter soltice with a huge celebration that included a boozy marathon party and some believe the New Year’s Eve kiss tradition became a more tame version of this.
There’s also another old superstition that says the way you ring in the new year dictates how the rest of the year will go, and according to English and Germanic folklore, kissing your true love then means good things for your relationship in the coming year.
In Europe there used to be masked balls held to celebrate the end of the year and partygoers would take their masks off at midnight and grab the first person they saw and kiss them. Apparently, the masks represented evil spirits and planting one on their new partner helped cleanse them of the previous year’s bad vibes.
And in Scotland, they’ve been throwing a raucous New Year’s Eve celebration called Hogmanay since the days of Viking invasions in the 8th and 9th centuries. And one thing this party is known for is kissing and lots of it - both strangers and familiar faces, no one’s off limits.