Apr 102019

Hosted @ Bermudaonion’s Weblog

I get the Merriam-Webster Word Of The Day sent to my email and this was the word for yesterday.

noun | HAN-sul

1 : a gift made as a token of good wishes or luck especially at the beginning of a new year

2 : something received first (as in a day of trading) and taken to be a token of good luck

3 a : a first installment

b : a token or sample of what is to come : earnest, foretaste

According to an old custom in the British Isles, the first Monday of the New Year is Handsel Monday, a day to give a small gift or good luck charm to children or to those who have served you well. As long ago as the 13th century, English speakers were using the ancestor of handsel in the context of omens and luck, eventually leading to the meaning of a good luck charm given to one at the start of some new situation or condition. By the 18th century, traders were using handsel for the first cash they earned in the morning—to them, an omen of good things to follow. Nowadays, it can also be used for something that gives a taste of things to come.

  8 Responses to “Wondrous Words Wednesday”

  1. That’s new to me but I love the idea of Handsel Monday.

  2. How interesting! I never heard of Handsel Monday before.

  3. Have never heard of Handsel Monday nor knew of Hansel as anything other than a character in a fairytale. You live and you learn.

  4. I never heard of Handsel Monday either. You’re teaching us new things, Thank you!

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