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New Year’s Gifts


The Greeks transmitted the custom to the Romans, and the Romans to the early Britons. The Roman presents were called strenæ, whence the French term étrenne (a New Year’s gift). Our forefathers used to bribe the magistrates with gifts on New Year’s Day—a custom abolished by law in 1290, but even down to the reign of James II. the monarchs received their tokens.

N.B. Nonius Marcellus says that Tatius, King of the Sabines, was presented with some branches of trees cut from the forest sacred to the goddess Strenia (strength), on New Year’s Day, and from this happy omen established the custom.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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New Brooms sweep Clean
New Christians
New Jerusalem
New Man
New Style
New Testament
New World
New Year’s Day
New Year’s Gifts
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Newcastle Programme
Newcome (Colonel)
Newgate Fashion
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Newgate Knocker (A)