Kiss and Tell: The Story Behind the New Year’s Kiss

When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s, revelers around the world celebrate by exchanging kisses.  The gesture isn’t always a romantic one; often friends and family members give each other an affectionate peck on the cheek. But how did this lippy tradition get started?..

Historians believe that the tradition of the New Year’s kiss started with the Ancient Romans. To commemorate the festival of  Saturnalia and Winter Solstice, both celebrated around the same time in December, Romans exchanged kisses. And old English and German traditions suggested that the first person you puckered up to would help set the tone for your happiness in the upcoming year.

These days, the kiss seems to have less to do with superstition than it does general merriment. We’re happy and excited about the New Year so we celebrate by giving someone we’re close with (or a sexy stranger) a smooch. Still, some believe that a midnight kiss could guarantee you good luck in all things love for the year to come. And others feel that kissing a less than savory individual at midnight—or not smooching at all—could mean bad luck.

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