Wednesday, December 29, 2021

A Midnight Kiss—Where did the New Year’s tradition come from?

I have to admit, I remember being quite young when I became intrigued by the idea of a kiss at the midnight stroke of the New Year. I believe old movies fraught with escalating tension between the hero and heroine had a lot to do with it. Even if the main characters weren't doing the kissing, and it was all taking place in the background beneath a shower of confetti, flying corks, and a garbled rendition of Auld Lang Syne, the film makers sure seemed to make that countdown kiss a big deal. But why?

Where did the midnight New Year’s kiss come from?

I’m not too happy to tell you, because it was apparently loaded with a history of promiscuity and pagan ritual. Like some other holiday traditions we celebrate today, the New Year's kiss stems all the way back to those ancient Romans who seemed to have had the market cornered on combining adoration of their pagan gods with merry-making to the extreme. In the case of the New Year’s kiss, the Roman practice surrounded Saturnalia a god they celebrated in terms of farming and winter solstice. In fact, even some of our Christmas traditions are entwined with that one, such as decorating with wreaths and boughs and giving gifts, though now of course, Christian households take a different meaning to those activities. The entire atmosphere of the Roman event that lasted from December 17th-23rd was filled with a carnival atmosphere that broke down class barriers, such as between slaves and masters, and involved—you guessed it—a lot of kissing and—ahem—other carnal activities.

By the time we move up history’s timeline to the period of the Renaissance, the meaning of the midnight kiss had come along as a form of expressing and hoping for “good luck”. By this period the masked-ball party had popularized, so a lot of kissing license was taken behind supposed anonymity, as was other forms of promiscuity. We won’t go there.

As the New Year’s tradition of the midnight kiss evolved in English and German folklore, it was said that an individual's yearly destiny would be determined by the first person he or she encountered in the new year. For very superstitious folks, I can see why that would be concerning. Sooner rather than later, people took the bold step of determining their destiny by choosing who they wanted that “first person” to be. And voilà! the modern New Year’s smooch was born.

Fiction writers and movie makers have been trying to create the best New Year’s kissing scenes ever since. Well, kissing scenes in general. Here's a classic.

If you want to close out 2021 with a story that contained my favorite “book kiss” of the year, check out the brand new one by Candice Sue Patterson—Saving Mrs. Roosevelt. The hero and heroine’s first kiss in that story is a sizzler, and in a fabulously romantic setting! Did you have a favorite this year?

Be sure to pop back to the blog tomorrow (and every month on the 30th) to discover some terrific books which are sure to drop some pretty lovely kisses in the pages—chaste ones of course!

Until next year, here’s to you and yours as we step into 2022. May God pour his kiss of blessings on you in ways beyond your fathoming. May you have profound peace, deep joy, and pleasurable reading!

Happy New Year! Mwah! 😘

Naomi Musch

Drop by my website for a FREE 2022 Calendar, easy to download and print. It’s really pretty!

Song for the Hunter
I have a NEW RELEASE! It’s so hot off the press, the ink is barely dry!

Métis Hunter Bemidii Marchal has never played his flute to court a maiden.
Now tragedy has brought his path alongside golden-haired Frenchwoman Camilla Bonnet’s, whose fear of him he longs to wipe away. But the secret he hides could turn her heart away—and demand his life.

Available at:


  1. Thank you for posting! I don't recall any memorable kiss in a book I've read this year. I don't tend to focus on the romance in a story. I'm sure it's to my detriment, or maybe it's just the practicality of having been married for a very long time to a wonderful guy who just doesn't seem to have a romance gene. LOL!! Happy New Year!

    1. Sorry for the delay in responding. I know what you mean. Sometimes I focus on the romance and sometimes I don't. Most often it's the hero's or heroine's journey for me. But when one really stands out, I can't miss it. Saving Mrs. Roosevelt was like that. Happy New Year!