Archaic Definition of the Week – New Year's Gifts

New Year’s gifts The giving of presents at this time was a custom among both the Greeks and the Romans, the latter calling them strenæ… 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 on New Year’s Day… Magistrates were formerly bribed with gifts on New Year’s Day, a custom abolished by law in 1290.

Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, Sixteenth Edition revised by Adrian Room.

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