Saturday 1 September 2012

Happy New Year

All modern religions have their own special "New Year".

Especially we think of the success that some neo-pagans have had in claiming that the Halloween / All Hallows period is the oldest "new year" on these islands. But there is another modern religion that celebrates the New Year - on the first day in September. The Methodists.

Methodist New Year Traditions:

Last night, all Methodists stayed up to "see the New Year in". And some of them won't have gone to bed till half-past nine.

Those Methodists that go out to New Years' Watchnight Parties do actually stay up all the way through to the New Year. When the clock strikes twelve they form a committee.

Massive "dragons" carry out special Methodist Dancing around the chapel.

This year is the Methodist Year of the Lemur.

It is a tradition for the first Methodist to knock on your door in the New Year to sing all 27 original verses of "And Can it Be" while standing on your doorstep. This is why Methodists' neighbours all go on holiday from late August till October.

On 1 September, every Methodist minister in the country has to move house. Pickfords' have to bring in extra staff. And then, when they realise how many copies of "The Myth of God Incarnate" they have to move, they bring in some extra extra staff. Since Methodist ministers only actually change circuit every five years, 80% of removals are "pretend" removals, and they end up putting all the stuff back.

The "Blessing of the Fresh Tea Lights" takes place on 1 September in just one chapel in Lancashire.

The first person into a chapel on the Methodist New Year has to bring a piece of coal. It's a reminder of how cold the place is going to get over the next six months.

Any Methodist children unable to sleep because of excitement on 31 August are read John Wesley's sermons.

Up till 1932 when the Wesleyans made them stop it, the Primitive Church would drive the previous years' President of Conference out into the wilderness every 31 August.

On 1 September, Methodists like to wrap their pet deer in slankets. They like to feel their harts are strangely warmed.


  1. Thank you for restoring my ancestral traditions to me. My late father was raised Methodist, but in his rare comments on the fact, neglected a lot of these little traditions. In fact, on the subject of religion, he tended to limit himself to agreeing to attend christenings, weddings and funerals (if he knew the people involved), wondering why on earth anyone would want to read the KJV of the Bible, and saying things like 'Your Great-Uncle is coming to visit, and he likes going to church. Which one do you think is most like the Methodists?' If only I had had all this information handy, I wouldn't have suggested the United Church of Canada!

  2. what about the annual changing of the banner?

  3. Or the annual refreshing of the pulpit water carafe


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